The Rockford Rivets dropped game one of a two game set in Madison on Tuesday night when they lost to the Mallards by a score of 9-4.
Despite the loss, the Rivets had another positive outing from a pair of newcomers. Shortstop Hal Hughes recorded his first RBI in a Rivets uniform to start a rally in the seventh inning and make the score 8-1. Hughes just finished his freshman year at LSU, where he started 63 games for the Tigers.
Soon after, third baseman Mason Templet sent a ball over the right field wall to knock in three runs and get his first home run in his first appearance with Rockford. Templet attends LSU-Eunice junior college, which just won the NJCAA Division II National Championship this year.
Rivet’s manager Brian Smith has seen many of his newcomers perform well right away and today was no exception.
“We have had pretty good luck with first timers walking in here and getting the job done,” Smith said. “It’s always nice to see the offense come back and hopefully we can try and get some momentum going into tomorrow.”
Right fielder Jake Vander Wal continued his dominance at the plate as of late. He is currently riding a 10 game road hit streak and has bumped up his batting average to .340. On Tuesday, he had two hits including a double that resulted in left fielder Parker Bates being thrown out at home to end a Rockford scoring threat in the sixth inning.
Starting pitchers Matt Vanek went four innings and allowed four earned runs with five strikeouts. The Rivets then used a combination of Anthony Holubecki, Hunter Keim and Jackson Bronke to close out the game.
In the end, the Mallards used their hot bats to put the Rivets away.
“They did a good job jumping on Vanek early and getting ahead, they just kind of put that thing away,” Smith said. “We tried charging back towards the end of the game but there is a reason these guys have the best record in the league.”
Rockford will finish their series against Madison tomorrow at home when they look to split the series with the Mallards at 6:35 pm.
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 25th anniversary season, 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, more than 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rockfordrivets.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rivets as your favorite team.