Published On: July 7th, 2021

Despite a cycle and 5-6 performance from Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech), the Rockford Rivets fell 11-10 to the Kenosha Kingfish on Tuesday night at Simmons Field. With the defeat, Rockford opens the 2nd half with a loss and brings the team’s overall record to 15-21. 

The Rivets started the game with a bang, scoring 4 runs in the first on a 2-RBI single from Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) and a 2-run home run from Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) – his second in as many games. 

Rockford starter Michael Oh (Jr, North Carolina) struggled in his first start in the rotation, allowing 2 runs in the 1st inning and 1 in the 2nd, but the Rivets offense backed him up, scoring twice more in the 2nd via a triple from Matulia.

The score remained 6-3 in favor of the Rivets until the bottom of the fourth, when the Kingfish touched up Oh for four runs – three of which were unearned after an error by Elliott, which extended the inning to allow a 3-run homer from Carmine Lane (Fr, South Florida). 

After both teams scored once in the 5th to make the score 8-7 Kenosha, Rockford took the lead in the 6th. 

Entering the inning 3-3 with a double, triple and single, Matulia launched a ball over the right field fence to tie the game and complete the cycle in four at bats. 

Later in the frame, Fuentes scored Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) to put the Rivets in front 9-8. 

In the 8th, Matulia tacked on his second double of the game and came around to score on an error, putting Rockford ahead 10-8.

It all came crashing down in the bottom of the 8th, as Kenosha capitalized on Rivets’ miscues to stage a comeback. After Ryan Green (So, Concordia-Wisconsin) retired the first batter of the inning, he allowed back-to-back infield singles and was pulled for Tanner Mink (R-Fr, South Florida). 

Mink then issued a walk to Lane to load the bases and threw a wild pitch, allowing Xavier Watson (R-Fr, Illinois) to score to cut the lead to 1. After a clutch strikeout of Casey O’Laughlin (Jr, Azusa Pacific) for the second out, Mink induced a ground ball to third base. 

On a tough backhanded play, Tommy Benson (R-Fr, Triton College) fielded the ball but uncorked a wild throw to first, allowing 2 runs to score, giving Kenosha a 11-10 lead.

In the 9th, Rockford would load the bases on a Brody Harding (So, Illinois) hit by pitch and walks from Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech) and Elliott, but Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State) flied out to center to end the game. 

After a 5-6 night featuring the cycle and 3 RBIs, Matulia was named the Northwoods League Player of the Night for the first time this season. 

Rockford will get a rematch with Kenosha tomorrow night to wrap up a 6-game road trip. First pitch is set for 6:05. 

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