With two outs in the top of the 9th inning, the Rockford Rivets trailed the Battle Creek Bombers 4-1 on Saturday night at C.O. Brown Stadium. However, a stunning turn of events led to a 5-4 Rivets win, reminding all 1,494 in attendance that the game is never truly over until the final out is recorded.
The action started early for Rockford, as they scored the first run of the ballgame in the top of the 1st via an RBI groundout by Brody Harding (So, Illinois).
The Bombers responded in the bottom of the 2nd inning, scoring twice off Rivets closer turned starter Tucker Shalley (Fr, Parkland College). The two runs in the frame marked the first time that Shalley allowed more than one earned run in an outing all season.
Battle Creek didn’t stop there, as they pushed across one more run off Shalley in his final inning of work in the 3rd to extend their lead to 3-1.
In the 4th, Payton Hutchings (Fr, Illinois) came on out of the bullpen and allowed an unearned run, as Brian Zapp (So, Miami-Ohio) reached on a throwing error by Harding and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Brady Held (Jr, Simpson College).
From there on out, Hutchings was lights out – tossing five scoreless innings, walking just one while striking out 10 Bombers.
On the other side of the scorecard, Battle Creek bullpen arm Lucas Bixby (So, Southeastern CC) matched Hutchings effort, tossing five scoreless innings, working around four Rockford base hits.
In the top of the 9th, Bixby was pulled in favor of closer Davis Burgin (So, Troy) with Battle Creek leading by 3. Burgin recorded the first two outs without much fanfare, striking out Joaquin Monque (Fr, South Florida) and inducing a flyout against Brandon Bannon (So, Illinois-Springfield).
With the Rivets down to their final out, Burgin lost his command, issuing back-to-back four pitch walks to Johannes Haakenson (Jr, Concordia-Wisconsin) and Drew Stengren (Fr, Central Michigan) before hitting Shemar Page (Jr, Louisiana Tech) with the first pitch of his at bat to load the bases.
After a mound visit, Rockford slugger Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) stepped in the box. Burgin gathered himself to induce a ground ball to second base, but the ball was booted by second baseman TJ McCormick (R-Fr, Hawaii), allowing Haakenson and Stengren to score to cut the lead to 4-3.
With runners on the corners, Kevin Bushnell (Jr, Bennidictine) came to the plate. Midway through the at-bat, Matulia stole second base without a throw to move the go-ahead run into scoring position.
With a full count, Bushnell lifted a high fly ball to center, which looked to be a routine play for Chrisitan Tajeda (Sr, Miami-Ohio). However, Tajeda lost the ball in the lights and it dropped 20 feet behind him, allowing Rockford to pull ahead 5-4.
Having been dominant for the previous 5 innings, Hutchings went back out to close the game in the bottom of the 9th and struck out two Bombers to finish off one of the wildest comebacks in Rivets history.
Rockford will finish the season series with Battle Creek tomorrow at 1:35 ET.