Despite another rough start, the Rivets recovered to complete a five-run comeback victory, 6-5 over the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Saturday night at Rivets Stadium. The win is Rockford’s 3rd straight and improves its 2nd half record to 3-2.
Ben Vitas (Fr, Central Michigan) stumbled out of the gate, allowing two runs in the 1st inning, followed by three in the 2nd on seven Woodchucks hits.
Thanks to a Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) triple and Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) sacrifice fly in the 1st, the Rivets trailed 5-1 after two frames.
As Woodchucks starter Bobby Vath (R-Fr, Arizona Western) cruised along, the score held until the bottom of the 6th. Rockford chased Vath by starting the frame with a single from Cantu and double from Tommy Benson (R-Fr, Triton College).
Brain Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) drove in Cantu with an RBI single, and Benson followed on a sharp ground ball that resulted in an error off the bat of Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier). Later in the frame, Fuentes came around to score on a groundout from Drew Stengren (Fr, Central Michigan) to make the score 5-4.
On the other side of the scorecard, Jake Armstrong (R-So, UW-Milwaukee) took over for Vitas in dominant fashion. After taking over in the 4th inning, the righty tossed up five straight zeros to allow a Rivets comeback.
In the bottom of the 7th, Matulia reached on an error and scored on an RBI double by Benson to knot the game at 5.
After Armstrong pitched a scoreless top of the 8th inning and Rockford didn’t score in the bottom half, Cade Turner (Fr, Illinois-Springfield) came on for the 9th.
Turner hit the first batter he faced, but retired the next two, before closer Tucker Shalley (Fr, Parkland College) retired fellow all-star Kevin Kilpatrick (R-Fr, Central Florida CC) with a runner on 2nd to keep the game tied.
In the bottom of the 9th, Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State) singled to put the winning run on base. Josue Urdeneta (R-Fr, Indiana State) struck out before Matulia reached on an error and Cantu was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Benson then drilled a ground ball to third base, but Antonio Valdez (So, Baylor) made the play at the plate to bring up Fuentes with two outs and the bases loaded. Fuentes drew a full count, but took ball four on a fastball high and outside to hand the Rivets their 4th walk-off win of the season.
Rockford and Wisconsin will wrap up their 4-game season series tomorrow afternoon at 3:05 pm.