Published On: July 2nd, 2021

By Larry Larson

Winnebago native Jace Warkentien (R-Jr, Western Illinois) went out in a big way in his final start of the summer, helping Rockford snap its 5-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over Battle Creek. 

Warkentien went 7.1 innings, allowing just one run on nine hits and four strikeouts. 

The Rivets started the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd, as Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) dashed home from third on a wild pitch. 

Warkentien nearly lost the shutout in the top of the 4th inning as Heath Hood (So, Tyler Junior College) lined a single into right field and Aaron Beck (R-Jr, Indiana State) attempted to score from 2nd base. Rivets rightfielder Cam McDonald (R-So, Illinois) fired a strike to home plate, where catcher Grant Magill (R-Fr, Indiana State) applied a swift tag to preserve the 1-0 lead. 

In the bottom half, Rockford would increase its lead to 2-0 with an RBI single by Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State). 

From there, it was the Jace Warkentien show, as the lefty cruised until the 7th inning – when the Bombers would threaten again. 

After setting down the first two batters on strikes, Warkentien surrendered back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. Facing the leadoff man Ed Johnson (So, Tennessee Tech), Warkentien induced a popup to center to avert any damage. 

With his pitch count into the 90s, Warkentien headed back out for the 8th and recorded the first out on one pitch, but allowed a single and a double to put the go-ahead run at the plate and was subsequently removed to a standing ovation. 

Elijah Sanchez (Jr, NIU) came on in relief and allowed a single to Harold Coll (Fr, San Jacinto College) to cut the lead to 2-1. The Rockford native would bounce back to strikeout back-to-back hitters to preserve the lead. 

In the bottom of the 8th, the Rivets pushed across two insurance runs as McDonald scored on a passed ball and Jake Donahue (Fr, CMU) picked up an RBI single to push the score to 4-1.

Closer Tucker Shalley (Fr, Illinois) came on for the save in the 9th and worked around a one out walk to slam the door. 

With the victory, Rockford improves to 14-18 with four games remaining in the first half. Warkentien earned the victory, finishing his summer with a record of 2-2. 

The Rivets will start a six game road trip tomorrow with a 5:35 CT matchup with Kalamazoo. 

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