By Larry Larson
Rivets starter Payton Hutchings (Fr, Illinois) turned in his best outing of the season, helping Rockford to a much needed 9-2 victory over the Kenosha Kingfish on Friday night at Rivets Stadium. The win improves Rockford’s record to 7-9 in the 2nd half prior to a four game road trip.
After the Rivets fell behind 8-0 after two innings in yesterday’s 10-3 loss to the Kingfish, Hutchings flipped the script, dealing 6 innings of shutout ball while striking out 6 – including his Fighting Illini teammate and league batting average leader Justin Janas (Fr, Illinois) twice.
Rockford gave Hutchings some early run support in the 2nd inning. Johannes Haakenson (Jr, Concordia-Wisconsin) started the scoring with an RBI triple, and Jake Donahue (Fr, Central Michigan) followed with a well-executed safety squeeze to open a 2-0 lead.
Two batters later, Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) drove a 3-run home run over the right center field wall to make it a 5 spot. Matulia leads the Rivets with 6 homers this summer.
Matulia continued his big day with a double in the 5th inning, which eventually resulted in the Rivets’ 6th run of the evening, as Brody Harding (So, Illinois) scored Matulia on a sac fly.
Kenosha didn’t score until the 7th inning, pushing across a run off Jake Armstrong (R-So, UW-Milwaukee) via an RBI double.
The Rivets roared back with three more runs in the bottom of the 7th, scoring on an error, passed ball and an RBI single from Haakenson.
Tanner Mink (R-Fr, South Florida) closed the game for the Rivets, allowing 1 run in the 8th before recording a scoreless 9th to end the contest.
Rockford will depart for Traverse City tomorrow to begin a 2-game series with the Pit Spitters at 6:05 CT.