WILLMAR, Minn – Ryan Long had a home run as part of a three hit day at the plate and Kian O’ Brien (Madison Tech) had two outfield assists to foil a late rally as the Rockford Rivets ended their season long eight game losing streak with a 9-4 win over the Willmar Stingers on Sunday evening at Bill Taunton Stadium.
The Rivets took an immediate lead in the top of the first. Hunter Hargrove (Texas Tech) walked, and Long (Texas Tech) launched an opposite field two-run home run to left for a 2-0 lead. In the fourth, Rockford would add to the lead. After Long singled to right and Ricardo Ramirez (Illinois-Chicago) was hit by a pitch, Jordan Hovey (Missouri State) jumped on the first pitch from Jayce Vancena (Michigan) and hit his first home run of the summer to extend the lead to 5-0.
Willmar would get on the board in the fifth. After Rivets’ starter Drake Robison (Iowa) walked Danny Pardo (Montevallo), Justin Toerner (Cal State Northridge) hit an opposite field two-run home run to left to cut the deficit to 5-2.
In the seventh, Rockford added to the lead. Vancena (5-2) walked Perry, and Hargrove doubled him home to extend the lead to 6-2. That was enough for Robison (6-3), who went 6 1/3 innings despite walking six. After he left the game, Pardo singled to right but was thrown out by O’ Brien trying to stretch the hit to a double. Later in the inning, Danny Mayer (Pacific) hit a fly ball that was caught by O’ Brien. On the play, Toerner tagged from third but was thrown out at the plate by the Rivets’ right fielder to shut down the rally.
Neal Tyrell (Lewis University) would score on a balk in the ninth before Ramirez hit a long two-run home run to left field that made it 9-4.
The Rivets will open a quick two game series against the Madison Mallards at Warner Park on Monday morning at 11:35. Broadcasts and live streams can be found at NorthwoodsLeague.com.
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com. For more information, visit RockfordRivets.com.