By: Larry Larson
After finding themselves in an early hole once again, the Rockford Rivets roared back to beat the Kokomo Jackrabbits 16-8 on Monday night at Rivets Stadium to end a four game losing streak.
With the win, the Rivets move to 9-12 on the season and end Kokomo’s four game win streak.
Rivets starter Payton Hutchings (Fr, Illinois) let up five runs in the first three innings, creating an early 5-0 deficit. However, in the bottom of the 3rd, Rockford would turn the tables.
After striking out five batters in his first two innings, Jackrabbits starter Evan Elliott (R-Fr, Iowa) hit Josue Urdeneta (R-Fr, Indiana State) and Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) and issued a walk to Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) to open the 3rd.
Urdeneta would score on a wild pitch, before Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) would walk to re-load the bases. After Adam Christopher (Fr, Loyola-Marymount) relieved Elliot, he issued back-to-back bases loaded walks to Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) and Brody Harding (So, Illinois) to trim the Kokomo deficit to 5-3 with Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier) at the plate.
After Cushing battled to a full count, he drove a towering fly ball over the left field wall to give the Rivets the lead on a go-ahead grand slam.
The Jackrabbits wouldn’t go down easy, scoring a run in the 4th and 2 in the 6th to retake the lead, 8-7.
The Rivets could reclaim the advantage in the 6th thanks to an RBI single by Wade Elliot (So, Louisiana Tech) and a two-RBI knock by Harding.
Rockford would break things wide open in the bottom of the 7th, scoring 6 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks to push the lead to 16-8.
Tucker Shalley (Fr, Illinois) extended his scoreless innings streak to 7.1 with a scoreless 8th inning, and Ben Vitas (Fr, Central Michigan) ended the game with a scoreless 9th to end the Rivets’ skid.
Rockford and Kokomo will finish the two game series tomorrow night at 6:05 at Rivets Stadium.