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Published On: June 23rd, 2021

By: Larry Larson

After Rockford found itself down 8-1 to Kokomo in the 3rd inning, the game came down to a play at the plate in the bottom of the 9th – but the Rivets fell 8-7 to split the series with the Jackrabbits on Tuesday night at Rivets Stadium. 

Rockford’s starting pitcher Bryce Barnett (R-Fr, Arizona State) got knocked around for 8 runs on 8 hits in 2 plus innings – including 5 in the first two frames. 

After Barnett couldn’t make it out of the third, the Rivets’ bullpen kept the Jackrabbits off the scoreboard the rest of the game, hurling 7 scoreless innings. 

Rockford’s comeback started in the bottom of the 4th, as Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) reached on an error and Cam McDonald (R-So, Illinois) followed with a single, setting up Grant Magill (R-Fr, Indiana State) for a two-RBI single to trim the lead to 8-3. 

Action subsided until the bottom of the 7th inning. Rockford started the inning by recording two outs, before Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) and Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) picked up back-to-back singles and Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) was hit with a pitch to load the bases. 

Matulia then stepped to the plate, and sent a towering fly ball to right field. As Kokomo’s rightfieder Dyan Dennis (So, Loyola Marymount) moved towards center to make the play, he lost the ball and couldn’t make a diving catch, leading to a bases-clearing double to make the score 8-6. 

The Rivets bullpen held the score there, as Bradley Deboutte (R-So, Wright State) pitched a scoreless 8th and Chan Yao-Ming (Jr, Kainan University – Taiwan) set down the ‘Rabbits in the 9th. 

In the bottom of the 9th, Hawkins started the inning with a four-pitch walk off Kokomo closer Tommy Peltier (So, Canisius). The walk was followed by two straight fielder’s choices, bringing the Rivets to their final out with a runner on first. 

Matulia then singled to left, moving Elliott to second base. McDonald then sent a routine ground ball to first base, but Martin Vinchelli-Simard (So, Sacramento State) booted it, loading the bases for Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier). 

Cushing sent a sharp line drive up the middle to score Elliott, but Matulia was thrown out by a laser-like throw from center field Jacob Marsee (R-Fr, Central Michigan) to end the game.

The loss drops Rockford to 9-13 on the season, entering a 4-game series with the Kalamazoo Growlers, which starts tomorrow at 6:05 at Rivets Stadium.

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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.