Rivets fall to Chinooks in intense, extra-inning battle
For the second consecutive night, the Rivets and Lakeshore Chinooks needed extra innings to break a 2-2 tie. However, unlike Thursday night, Rockford couldn’t come through and dropped the contest 4-2. The loss brings the Rivets’ 2nd half record to 12-16 with eight games remaining in the season.
Much like Thursday’s game at Lakeshore, a wind blowing out didn’t prevent a pitchers’ duel.
Payton Hutchings (Fr, Illinois) took the ball for Rockford in his final start of the summer, while Nate Haberthier (Fr, Ohio State) started for Lakeshore.
Both Big Ten arms surrendered an early run in the 2nd frame. Hutchings retired the 1st two batters of the inning before allowing a two-out double and an RBI single off the bat of Connor Kimple (R-Jr, Louisiana-Lafayette).
Rockford responded in the bottom of the inning with an RBI groundout by Joaquin Monque (Fr, South Florida) to score Jack Cavanaugh (R-Jr, UW-Milwaukee).
While the scoring went quiet until the 6th inning, the game itself did not.
In the top of the 5th inning, Brody Harding (So, Illinois) reached on an infield single and ended up exchanging words with Haberthier and other members of the Lakeshore infield.
After the Rivets failed to score in the frame, the beef went to a new level in the top of the 6th, as Jackson Gray (R-So, Western Kentucky) launched a go-ahead solo home run to right field and admired the shot in the left handed batters box for well over 10 seconds.
After Gray rounded the bases, Monque exchanged words with him at home plate.
Rockford once again responded in the scoring column, thanks to an RBI infield hit by Conner Goodman (R-So, UW-Milwaukee) to knot the game at 2. The Rivets failed to capitalize with the bases loaded the rest of the inning, as Haberthier struck out Harding to end the frame.
Hutchings exited the game in the top of the 7th after striking out Justin Olson (R-Jr, College of Southern Nevada). Hutchings finished his final start of the season with a final line of 6.1 innings pitched, five hits allowed, two earned runs, no walks and eight strikeouts.
From there, the bullpens dominated to get the game to extras. Cade Turner (Fr, Kirkwood) tossed 2.2 scoreless innings for Rockford, while Jason DeCicco (R-Jr, Eastern Illinois) struck out six Rivets in 2.1 innings.
Brett Taucher (R-Jr, Quincy) came in for the 10th for Rockford and struggled. In his first batter faced, Kimple bunted a ball back to the righty, which Taucher bobbled, leading to a runners on 2nd and 3rd situation.
Olson would come around to score on a wild pitch to put Lakeshore ahead 3-2. Taucher recovered by recording back-to-back outs, but surrendered an RBI double to Dylan Johnson (R-So, Gonzaga) to push the Chinooks lead to 4-2.
In the bottom of the 10th, Brandon Bannon (So, Illinois-Springfield) was hit with the first pitch, but Lakeshore righty Mitch Mueller (So, Winona State) bounced back by recording a strikeout and inducing a game-ending double play ball.
The defeat marks Rockford’s final game of the season with Lakeshore, with the Chinooks taking the series 3-1.
The Rivets return to action tomorrow tonight in Traverse City with a 7:05 ET matchup with the Pit Spitters.