The Rivets’ 4-game win streak came to an end on Saturday, as Rockford couldn’t complete another thrilling comeback and fell to the Kokomo Jackrabbits 8-7 in 12 innings at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
With the loss, the Rivets fall back below .500 at 13-14.
The action started early, as Rockford scored twice in the first thanks to an RBI single by Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) and then an RBI triple by Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech).
Rockford couldn’t hang on to that slim margin, though, as Rivets starter Jace Warkentien (R-Jr, Western Illinois) struggled with command throughout his outing. The Jackrabbits would get a run back in the 2nd thanks to a bases loaded walk, but the big damage came in the 5th.
Kokomo would plate 5 runs in the frame, thanks to three walks and three hits. The rally pushed the lead to 6-2 and chased Warkentien before the frame ended.
The Rivets would get one back in the 6th, as Matulia sent a mammoth solo home run deep over the right field fence to make the score 6-3.
Thanks to 3.1 scoreless innings from Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech), that score held until the top of the 9th, when the Rivets would storm back to tie the game.
The frame would start with a Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) walk, which was followed by a parade of four hits. Cam McDonald (R-So, Illinois) dumped a single into right, and Brody Harding (So, Illinois) then doubled on a line drive into center which scored Fuentes.
Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier) came on for a pinch-hit appearance with runners on 2nd and 3rd and came through with an RBI knock to bring the Rivets within one. With no outs and two on, Josue Urdeneta (R-Fr, Indiana State) lined a pitch over the heads of a drawn-in infield to tie the game at 6.
From that point on, Rockford couldn’t pick up the go-ahead hit – leaving the tying run 90 feet away for the rest of the frame.
Elijah Sanchez (Jr, Northern Illinois) tossed a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th to send the game to extras.
In the top of the 10th, Matulia started the inning on second per International Rules, but was thrown out at third base for the first out of the inning trying to advance on a wild pitch, leading to a scoreless inning.
In the bottom half, Tucker Shalley (Fr, Illinois) came on to preserve the tie, but faced adversity immediately, as the automatic runner moved to third on a passed ball with no outs. With no outs, Urdeneta made a game saving play on a bouncing ball to 2nd base – leaping to corral the ball in the very top of his glove and then throwing to first for the first out.
Then, with one out, Shalley induced a soft fly ball to right, which was caught by Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida). Kokomo runner Josh Buckley (So, GCU) tagged up and was cut down at the plate by a strike from Cantu to extend the game.
In the 11th, Rockford advanced Harding, their automatic runner, to third on a sac bunt. Urdeneta then came through again, lining a sacrifice fly into center to give Rockford a 7-6 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Shalley and the Rivets brought the Jackrabbits down to their final out, but Luke Spillane (R-Fr, UC-Irvine) blooped a high fly ball down the right field line that glanced off the glove of Fuentes, allowing runner Gavin Grant (So, Oregon) to score the tying run. Spillane would be stranded on second to send the game to the 12th.
In the top of the 12th, Rockford would leave the bases loaded, striking out for the final two outs.
Shalley returned to the mound for the bottom of the 12th, but received some pushback from mother nature, as a downpour ensued but play continued. Shalley let up an infield single and issued an intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. The rain subsided, but the field remained slick, leading Shalley to hit Michael Snyder (R-Fr, Washington) to end the game.
The Rivets and Jackrabbits will finish the brief two-game series at 2pm Eastern time tomorrow.