Wisconsin’s Playoff Hopes Dim After 14-6 Combined Doubleheader Loss
Wausau, Wis. – It can’t be said that the Rockford Rivets can only win ballgames in one way. In game one of a doubleheader Saturday evening against the Wisconsin Woodchucks, the Rivets hit three doubles and three home runs and put up a dozen runs in a 12-6 win. In game two, they managed just three hits total in a seven-inning affair but two Wisconsin errors proved very costly as Rockford (33-24; 16-7) defeated Wisconsin (23-36; 8-16) 2-0 to clinch the doubleheader sweep. The pair of wins means that Rockford’s chances at a playoff berth in 2017 look great, while Wisconsin’s chances look very bleak indeed.
Game one Saturday was over a month in the making. Rain in Wausau postponed an early pitcher’s duel between Heath Hawkins and Evan Snyder until Saturday night, but once the game was resumed, the Rivet offense got going in a hurry. Luke Hall was the first Woodchuck pitcher out, and the Rivets got to him for three runs in the fourth, anchored by a two-run homer by the red-hot Hunter Feduccia.
Wisconsin answered right back against Fernando Colon, putting up a five-spot in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. James Davison and Stevie Mangrum both drove in a run before Chad Fleischman lifted his third homer of the year over the left-field wall to put Wisconsin ahead.
The lead wouldn’t last long. Rockford struck for two in the sixth on a two-run Brian Klein double, three in the seventh on a Patrick Loeffler home run, three more in the eighth on a Bren Spillane home run, and one more in the ninth on a Klein sac fly. Wisconsin pulled one back in the eighth on Davison’s second RBI single of the game, but it was not enough in a 12-6 Rockford rout.
Game two went a little differently. Korey Rasure was sharp with eight strikeouts over 5.2 in the seven-inning affair for Wisconsin, but his defense let him down. With one out in the third, nine-hole hitter Logan Michaels reached on a Fleischman error and eventually scored on a double by Spillane. In the next inning, Kian O’Brien drew a walk and Michaels reached on an error by Yeager Taylor and O’Brien scored on a double by Brynn Martinez to put Rockford up 2-0.
Both runs against Rasure were unearned, but they were more than enough for a pair of dominant Rockford pitchers. Matt Vanek had a killer day with seven strikeouts on just two hits over five shutout innings in his first start of the year. Once he came out, Wisconsin finally threatened in the late innings against Josh Petersen. In the seventh, Hunter Coleman singled, Taylor walked and Fleischman got hit by a pitch to load the bases with two outs, but Petersen got Adonis Lao to ground out to clinch the 2-0 Rockford win.
Game two was just the first time Wisconsin had been shut out this season, and marked the first time the Chucks lost despite allowing fewer than five hits. Wisconsin will look for a rebound win against the Rivets Sunday afternoon in Wausau with Degan Harte on the hill against Rockford’s Brad Littleton. First pitch is slated for 3:05 PM.
Tickets are on sale to all Wisconsin Woodchucks home games and can be purchased online by calling 715.845.5055 or by stopping by the Woodchucks front office during normal business hours.
Tim Hackett, Broadcasting Intern