Rivets squander early lead, fall to Kokomo
By: Larry Larson
Despite jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the 1st inning, the Rockford Rivets couldn’t hold off the Kokomo Jackrabbits on Wednesday night, falling 13-7 at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
The Rivets kicked off the game with six hits in the first, leading to six runs. Wade Elliot (So, Louisiana Tech), Brody Harding (So, Illinois), Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State) and Peter Fusek (Fr, Milwaukee Area Tech) all drove in runs to open up the early advantage.
Kokomo immediately responded in the bottom of the 1st, pushing across 3 runs while sending eight batters to the plate. The inning taxed Rivets starter James Raffauf (So, Voulnteer State Community College) 35 pitches, which prevented him from returning for a second inning of work due to Northwoods League pitching rules.
Hruz Wagner (Fr, Milwaukee Area Tech) replaced Raffauf, but faced a similar fate. The righty allowed four runs to score in the 2nd inning, allowing Kokomo to pull ahead, 7-6. Wagner also went beyond the single-inning pitch limit, keeping him at one inning of work.
In the third, Elijah Sanchez (Jr, Northern Illinois) came on and surrendered an RBI double, but bounced back to keep Kokomo at bay for the next two frames.
Down 8-6, Rockford would make things closer in the 6th. Harding started the inning with a single and followed the act by stealing both 2nd and 3rd base. Max Malley (So, Evansville) brought him home with an RBI ground out, narrowing the deficit to just one.
That’s as close as the game would get, though, as the ‘Rabbits would come back with four runs in the bottom half of the 6th off of Fusek, who came into the game on the mound after starting at the DH. The big blow in the inning came on a 3-RBI triple by Raymond Hillbrich (So, Purdue Northwest).
Kokomo scratched across another run in the 8th, while Rockford failed to threaten Ryan Beck (Sr, IU-Kokomo) in the final three innings on their way to the 13-7 defeat.
‘Rabbits starter Kyle Wade (R-So, Purdue) picked up the victory after bouncing back from the rocky start to go five innings. Wagner would take the loss, while Beck recorded a save for pitching the final three innings.
The Rivets, now 3-6, will return to Rockford to take on Kenosha on Thursday at 6:05 pm.