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Rivets’ patience pays off in comeback win over Kalamazoo

By: Larry Larson

After falling short in three straight one-run games, the Rivets got one to go their way, as Rockford captured an 8-7 comeback victory over the Kalamazoo Growlers at Rivets Stadium on Wednesday night. The comeback was highlighted by a 3-run, no-hit bottom of the 8th inning.

Rockford found itself in an unfamiliar position after the 1st inning: ahead.

After a 1-2-3 first frame from Jared Herzog (Fr, Rockford University), the Rivets offense jumped on Growlers’ starter Elijah Gill (Jr, Valdosta State) for 5 runs in the bottom half.

Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) started the rally with a leadoff double, and Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) and Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) followed by reaching on a walk and hit by pitch.

Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier) then came through with a 2-RBI single to open a 2-0 lead. Cam McDonald (R-So, Illinois) followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 3-0, and after Max Malley (So, Evansville) drew a walk, Jake Donahue (Fr, Central Michigan) rounded out the scoring with a 2-RBI knock up the middle.

Herzog would shut down the Growlers to hold the advantage until the 4th inning, when K-Zoo hung a 5-spot of their own on the board.

After Herzog put two runners on, Brooks Coetzee (Jr, Notre Dame) belted a two-run home run to left to trim the lead to 5-3. Blake Dunn (Sr, Western Michigan) would make it back-to-back longballs with his first homer of the season to cut the lead to 5-4. Herzog would then let up a double and an RBI single to relinquish the lead, and was pulled before the end of the frame.

Kalamazoo would pull ahead with a tally in the 6th and another in the 7th to open up a 7-5 advantage.

All the while, Gill remained in the ballgame, not letting up a run after surrendering the 5 in the 1st. After Gill came out of the game prior to the 8th, Rockford jumped on the Growlers’ bullpen.

Luke Pappas (Fr, Western Michigan) would come on to start the 8th and surrendered walks to Donahue and Elliott. Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) then laid down a sac bunt right back to Pappas, who airmailed the throw to first, which scored Donahue.

With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Braden Forsyth (So, Mississippi) took the reins and promptly loaded the bases with a walk to Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State). Forsyth would then walk Matulia to bring in the tying run. The go-ahead run then came in to score on a wild pitch, to give Rockford an 8-7 advantage.

Tucker Shalley (Fr, Illinois) came on to get the save in the 9th, and stranded runners on 1st and 2nd base to end the ball game.

The win snaps the Growlers’ 5-game win streak, and brings Rockford’s record to 10-13 on the summer.

The Rivets and Growlers will play a split doubleheader tomorrow, with game one set for 11:00 am and game two set for a 6:05 first pitch.

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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.