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Bellair leads Rivets to road win over Bombers

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – It took five games, but the Rockford Rivets (16-12) finally took down the Battle Creek Bombers (16-12), 7-1, Tuesday night at C.O. Brown Stadium.

Cole Bellair (Illinois) started for the Rivets and picked up his third win of the season. Bellair went eight strong innings, allowing just one run (unearned), while striking out seven batters and walking just two. He was opposed by Andrew Click (Davenport) for the Bombers, who got through just one inning, giving up four runs on four hits.

In their four-run top of the first inning for the Rivets, Eric Cole (Arkansas) hit an RBI double to the left-center field gap to drive in the first run of the game. Jeremy Houston (Indiana) and Patrick Loeffler (Indiana) each drove in a run on singles, and another run came around to score on a wild pitch in the inning.

The Bombers got their only run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Other than that, it was all Rockford in this one.

Up 4-1 entering the top of the fourth, the Rivets added three more runs. Bren Spillane (Illinois), who went 3 for 4 on the night, plated the first two runs on a triple to right-center field. Spillane then scored on the relay throw to third base that skipped in the dirt past the bag.

The win for Rockford snaps a four-game losing streak to the Bombers this season. The Rivets collected 11 hits in the game, and Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State) and Cole scored two runs each. Meanwhile, it was Bellair’s fourth straight start in which he worked at least seven innings.

The Rivets play Game 2 of their series with the Bombers tomorrow at 7:05 p.m.

The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 24th season of summer collegiate baseball in 2017. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 160 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals), two-time World Champion Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets) and Lucas Duda (Mets). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com.