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Strong pitching seals rubber match victory over Battle Creek

By: Larry Larson

Led by a strong start from Forrest Barnes (So, Missouri State), the Rockford Rivets sealed a series victory at Battle Creek with a 5-3 victory at C.O. Brown Stadium on Tuesday night.

For just the fourth time this season, the Rivets didn’t surrender a run in the 1st or 2nd inning, as Barnes cruised through his first two frames of work.

The scoring started in the top of the 3rd when Blake Mozley (So, Missouri State) singled up the middle to score Daniel Gutierrez (R-So, Rosevelt University). Shortly after, Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) scored on a ground ball from Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) which resulted in an error.

Jake Donahue (Fr, Central Michigan) drove in the third run of the inning on an RBI infield single, which brought home Mozley.

Battle Creek responded with a run in the bottom half of the frame on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to narrow the deficit to 3-1, but Barnes’ pitching averted worse damage as he stranded the bases loaded.

The Bombers pushed across another run in the fifth on an RBI double by Aaron Beck (R-Jr, Indiana State) to cut the deficit to just one.

The lead stayed at one until the Rivets got some clutch hitting to add insurance in the 8th inning. After Fuentes singled to start the inning, and Donahue and Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier) walked with one out, Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State) stepped up with the bases loaded.

After taking a strike and fouling off a pitch, Ziegler singled up the middle to score Fuentes and Donahue to grow the Rockford lead to 5-2.

After Tucker Shalley (Fr, Illinois) tossed a scoreless 8th, JT Scara brought in closer Chan Yao-Ming (Jr, Kainan University – Taiwan) to finish the game.

Yao-Ming recorded the first out of the inning on one pitch, but then gave up a walk followed by a two-out single to make things interesting. Beck stepped to the plate and came through again, singling into right to score a run to cut the lead to two.

With pinch hitter Jacob McKeon (So, Washington State) at the plate, Harold Coll (Fr, San Jacinto College) and Beck both moved into scoring position, but Yao-Ming induced a ground out to strand the tying run at second to end the game.

With the victory, Rockford moves back to .500 with an 8-8 record entering their first off-day of the season. The win moves the Rivets to 4-0 on the season when they don’t allow a run in the 1st or 2nd inning.

Barnes picked up the victory in his first start, striking out 7 in 5 innings of work.

Rockford returns to action on Thursday night at Rivets Stadium, when they host the Lakeshore Chinooks at 6:05 pm.

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The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 250 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. 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.