Rivets’ Shut Out Bullfrogs in Final Eight Innings for 4-1 Win
Green Bay, Wis. – The Rockford Rivets (14-11) quickly fell behind to the Green Bay Bullfrogs (9-16) with no outs in the bottom of the first, but the pitching and defense was able to get the next 27 outs without allowing another run in a 4-1 victory on Saturday night in Joannes Stadium.
Jake Munoz, the leadoff batter for the Bullfrogs, got on with a single to start the game. A few pitches later, Blaise Maris drove him home on a double to put the pressure on Rivets’ ace Cole Bellair down 1-0 early. But after those initial two hits, Bellair would only allow three in the next six innings of work, also striking out six batters in that time.
“Every time [Bellair] goes out there, we expect him to be in the strike zone more than anybody in this league,” Manager Brian Smith said, “He’s really been a leader for this team on and off the field, and I’m just so happy every time he comes out here and does something like this.”
Jimmy Burnette and Nolan Gazouski teamed up to throw the final three innings of relief for the Rivets and in that time only allowed one hit and struck out three Bullfrogs. Catcher Brock Mathis also shined behind the plate catching one Bullfrog stealing and picking off another with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
At the plate, Justin Walker was the backbone of the offense. After Pat Loeffler scored on a wild pitch to even the score at one in the top of the third, Walker drove home Hal Hughes and Mason Templet on a clutch two-out two-RBI single to left field.
“I was just looking to put something in play and hopefully it would fall as a hit,” Walker said of the single, “I didn’t really hit it too hard, but it fell as a hit and it got two runs in and it helped out the team, so I was happy about it.”
Walker would tack on some insurance in the top of the eight when another clutch hit would find its way to center field and score Ryan Cole.
The Rivets get a crack at the sweep tomorrow against the Bullfrogs in some Sunday matinee action. Fittingly, Rockford leads the season series 4-1. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM at Joannes Stadium.
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.