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Rivets Split Double Header with First Place Mallards

The Rockford Rivets wrapped up their double header with Madison in dramatic fashion on Wednesday in Rockford. After losing in a shoot-out 14-12 in Madison for game one, the Rivets bounced back to win game two 5-4 and split their double header.

Rockford found themselves down 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth in game two with catcher Brock Mathis leading off. Mathis swung on the first pitch and sent a towering fly ball to shallow left field that looked to be a routine out. However, the Mallard’s left fielder appeared to lose the ball in the lights and a hustling Mathis found himself standing on second after the ball fell between shortstop Garrett Kueber and left fielder Drew Ober.

After back-to-back strikeouts Mathis stood on second with two outs and outfielder Jacob Vander Wal coming in to pinch-hit. Vander Wal hit a slow dribbler to Ober that slipped under his glove and scored the Rivet’s catcher from second and tie it at 4-4.

Rivet’s manager Brian Smith spoke about the discussion he and Mathis had before Vander Wal’s at bat prior to Mathis scoring the tying run from second off of the error.

“He and I talked before that pitch and said that we were not stopping,” Smith said. “No matter where the ball is hit he is not stopping, and luckily for us the shortstop muffed it and Brock didn’t slow down.”

First baseman Cory Wright then walked to put runners at first and second with two outs and outfielder Ryan Cole coming up to bat. The Rivets then tried a double steal attempt and the catcher’s throw sailed into centerfield to score Vander Wal and give the Rivets the lead for good at 5-4.

Mathis finished the game going 3-for-4 with three hits and two RBI’s in the big win over the first place Mallards.

Cooper Cain started the second game for Rockford and pitched just under six innings while allowing three earned runs and striking out six. Tanner Propst then came in and put in some quality innings. He allowed one earned run while striking out three Mallards in clutch situations. Propst was credited with the win, which was his first of the season.

Cain has been consistent all year for Rockford but Smith was especially happy with the way Propst performed coming out of the bullpen against a tough Mallards lineup.

“He is not afraid of anybody and he was not coming out of that game,” Smith said. “He wanted this game and I don’t know if he would have let me take him out. He was so locked in and when he throws strikes he is unhittable.”

Game one took place in Madison and was an offensive game to say the least. Both teams combined for 30 hits and produced 26 total runs in a back and forth game.

The Mallards drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning but the Rivets responded with a four run top of the second that was capped off by a Brennan Reback RBI triple, which brought in left fielder Ryan Cole and first baseman Cory Wright.

Rockford held the lead at 4-2 going into the fourth but Madison’s bats got hot in the bottom half of the inning as they managed to put up five runs and reclaim the lead. The Mallard’s rally included a three run homer courtesy of their first baseman Jake Randa that put the score at 7-4.

After a scoreless fifth inning from both teams, the Rivets put up a monstrous eight runs in the sixth after recording five hits and capitalizing on three errors committed by the Mallard’s infield. After Madison pitcher Carson Ragsdale came in for relief, Cole hit a line shot to left field and picked up his first home run of the season on the first pitch Ragsdale threw. This gave the Rivets a 12-7 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.

The Mallards then came back yet again and put up three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to reclaim the lead at 13-12. They added some insurance in the eighth and ultimately went on to win the offensive battle, and the game, by a score of 14-12 over the Rivets.

Catcher Wyatt Mascarella and Wright each finished with three hits and two RBI’s a piece. Five Rivets had multi-hit games with every player managing to reach base at least once and score a run.

Despite the game one loss, Smith was happy with his team’s ability to get their bats going against a tough opposing pitcher.

“I hope it’s not only in day games that we hit like this, but the guys did a great job,” Smith said. “We did a good job of putting good swings on him.”

Evan Snyder started on the mound for Rockford and went four innings while allowing seven earned runs and seven hits. Jimmy Burnette and Nolan Gazouski came in for relief and each pitched two innings while giving up an additional seven runs combined.

The Rivets are now 6.5 games behind the first place Mallards in the South Division of the Northwoods League with a 16-13 record. They will face another tough opponent tomorrow In Rockford when they play the second place Kalamazoo Growlers 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.