For the second consecutive game, the Rivets used a four-run top of the 9th inning to score a comeback victory, defeating Battle Creek 9-7 on Sunday afternoon at C.O. Brown Stadium. With the win, Rockford moves to 10-14 in the second half.
The 9th inning comeback marks the 8th Rivets comeback in the final three innings of games this season.
Much like yesterday’s Rockford victory, the early action favored the Rivets. Rockford scored twice in the first inning thanks to four hits, including RBI singles by Kevin Bushnell (Jr, Benedictine) and Brody Harding (So, Illinois).
Rockford starter Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech) tossed two scoreless innings before letting up Battle Creek’s first run of the game in the 3rd, cutting the lead to 2-1.
Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) would back up his teammate by responding with a two-run homer in the top of the 4th inning – his 7th of the summer – to extend the lead to 4-1. The Rivets scored again in the 5th, via an RBI single by Joaquin Monque (Fr, South Florida) to grow the lead to 5-1.
From that point on, the Bombers hit the comeback trail, scoring twice in the bottom of the 5th and once in the 6th to get within one.
Page, still in the game, bounced back with a scoreless 7th inning, and returned to the mound for the bottom of the 8th.
After recording the first out of the frame, Page allowed a single and a walk, bringing an end to his day. With the tying run on second base and go-ahead run on first, Jake Armstrong (R-So, Western Illinois) took the ball for Rockford.
In his first batter faced, Armstrong brought Brady Held (Jr, Simpson College) to an 0-2 count, before the left handed batter drilled a line drive off his leg. The ball bounced near 1st base, not allowing a run to score, but the bases became loaded.
Armstrong then induced a fielders’ choice, which brought the tying run home from third. With two outs and runners on second and third, Armstrong struck out Brian Zapp (So, Miami-Ohio) but the ball got past Drew Stengren (Fr, Central Michigan) extending the inning and allowing 2 runs to score.
The damage ended there, and Battle Creek entered the 9th leading 7-5.
This time around, the Rivets started their 9th inning magic with the first two batters, as Charlie Allison (So, Black Hawk College) walked to start the frame and Brandon Bannon (So, Illinois-Springfield) brought him home on an RBI single to trim the deficit to 7-6.
After Harding used sacrifice bunt to move Bannon to second, Bombers lefty Micah Gibson (R-Fr, Grayson College) struck out Johannes Haakenson (Jr, Concordia-Wisconsin) to bring the Rivets down to their final out.
Once again, Rockford battled, as Monque and Stengren drew walks to load the bases.
After Battle Creek made a pitching change to bring Bryce Trail (So, Indiana-Southeast) in to replace Gibson, Conner Goodman (R-So, UW-Milwaukee) drew a bases-loaded free pass to knot the game at 7.
Matulia then delivered the big blow, sending a line shot off the glove of first baseman Roman Kuntz (Fr, Morehead St) to drive in two runs and give Rockford a 9-7 lead.
In the bottom of the 9th, Cade Turner (Fr, Kirkwood) worked a 1-2-3 frame to capture the save and a stunning 2-game series sweep of the Bombers.
The Rivets return to Rivets Stadium tomorrow for a 6:05 matchup with the Traverse City Pit Spitters.