By Larry Larson
After three straight days of the wind blowing in at Rivets Stadium, the breeze flipped directions resulting in a wild, 22-9 Rockford loss to the Traverse City Pit Spitters on Tuesday night.
While the final score may not have indicated it, the game was tight at multiple points. The first few innings didn’t indicate it, either.
Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech) made the start for the Rivets and worked a scoreless first before allowing 3 runs in the 2nd and 6 runs in the 3rd to open a 9-0 deficit for Rockford.
The Rivets responded in the bottom of the 3rd by loading the bases via a Brian Fuentes (R-Fr, Indiana State) hit by pitch, Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) infield hit, and a Greg Ziegler (So, Missouri State) fielder’s choice.
After running a full count against TVC starter Wyatt Rush (R-So, Michigan State), Daniel Cantu belted a line drive grand slam over the right field fence to trim the lead to 9-4.
In the 4th inning, Rockford brought the deficit all the way down to two thanks to a sacrifice fly by Cantu and a 2-RBI single from Brody Harding (So, Illinois).
The ‘Spitters got two of those runs back in the 5th after loading the bases with no outs against Elijah Sanchez (Jr, Northern Illinois). Tanner Mink (R-Fr, South Florida) limited the damage by recording 3 straight outs, but two runs scored on a passed ball and sac fly.
Trailing 11-7, the Rivets would employ the longball to cut into Traverse City’s lead in the 6th. Ziegler started the inning by crushing a solo homer over the Meijer Monster in left field, unleashing a bat flip before trotting around the bases. After Cantu was retired, Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) lined his 4th homer of the summer to the right field party porch to make the score 11-9.
From that point on, Traverse City made it a mission to put the game out of reach, scoring 6 runs in the 7th and 5 runs – including an Adam Proctor (R-Jr, Michigan State) grand slam – in the 9th.
The Rivets will try their luck against another Michigan opponent tomorrow as they open a three day, four game series with the Kalamazoo Growlers at 5:35 eastern time at Homer Stryker Field.