By Larry Larson
Last night, the Rivets allowed 22 runs. Tonight, led by Ross Thompson’s (R-Jr, Heidelberg) six shutout innings, Rockford only surrendered one tally and crushed Kalamazoo 8-1. The victory snaps a three game losing streak to start a four game series with the Growlers.
The win moves Rockford’s record to 4-5 in the 2nd half and 19-25 overall.
After falling victim to six Anthony Bennetti (So, Barry) strikeouts through 2.2 innings, the Rivets drew three straight walks with two outs in the top of the 3rd and got on the board with a Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) hit by pitch.
The Rivets added a second run in the 5th courtesy of a laser-shot homer from Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) to increase the lead to 2-0.
The Growlers threatened in the bottom of the 5th, as back-to-back runners reached with one out. Thompson ended the threat by striking out Jake Gelof (Fr, Virginia) and Damon Lux (R-So, Duke) – the Growlers’ 2nd and 3rd batters – in succession.
Rockford began to open up the game in the 6th, posting three runs. Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) doubled to score Johannes Haakenson (Jr, Concordia-Wisconsin). Matulia followed with an RBI single and Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech) scored after Matulia intentionally induced a rundown to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 6th, Thompson finished his day by escaping another two on, one out jam with a strikeout and a pop-fly.
Brett Taucher (Jr, Quincy) struck out the side in the 7th, clearing the way for another Rivets’ three-run inning in the 8th. Hawkins, Matulia and Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) all drove in runs to make the score 8-0.
Lux belted a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th to end the shutout bid, but Jared Herzog (Fr, Rockford University) recorded the final 5 outs of the contest without trouble.
With the shutout performance, Thompson improves his record to 3-1 and lowers his ERA to an impressive 1.69.
Rockford and Kalamazoo will get back at it early tomorrow, starting with game one of a doubleheader at 11:05, with game two to follow at 6:35 Eastern.