Big 6th Inning, Bullpen Leads Rockford over Kalamazoo
The Rockford Rivets prevented their four game losing streak from growing to a season-long fifth game, defeating the Kalamazoo Growlers 6-3 on Thursday night at Rivets Stadium. The victory improves the team's record to 8-13 in the second half.
Following a scoreless first inning, Rockford starter Noah DeLuga (Fr, Minnesota) ran into trouble in the 2nd frame. After allowing an infield single and striking out the next two batters, the Growlers taxed DeLuga with two long at bats, which were topped off by two more infield singles. The second, off the bat of Luke Leto (HS-Sr, LSU), drove in Nolan McCarthy (Fr, Kentucky) from third base to put the Growlers ahead 1-0.
As a result of the long battles and two-out misfortune, DeLuga tossed 39 pitches in the frame, forcing him to be removed because of Northwoods League pitch limits.
The Rivets came back to knot the game at 1 in the bottom half of the inning, courtesy of an RBI double by Conner Goodman (R-So, UW-Milwaukee).
The Growlers regained the lead in the 3rd inning, pushing across two runs off Elijah Sanchez (Jr, Northern Illinois) thanks to a 2-RBI single by Dominic Pitelli (Fr, Miami).
Growlers starter Anthony Bennetti (So, Barry) kept the Rivets off the board from the 3rd inning through the 5th, before running into trouble in the 6th.
Rockford started the bottom of the 6th with three straight singles from Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech), Kevin Bushnell (Jr, Bennidictine) and Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) - with Elliott's driving in Matulia.
Following the knocks, Bennetti was pulled for Kyle Salley (So, Duke) who was welcomed to the game with a sacrifice bunt by Brody Harding (So, Illinois) who reached first base safely via an error by first baseman Tate Ballestero.
With the bases loaded, Bushnell scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 3. After a Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) walk, Josue Urdeneta (R-Fr, Indiana State) came through with an RBI single to give the Rivets a 4-3 lead. Joaquin Monque (Fr, South Florida) kept the scoring going with a bases loaded walk to push the lead to 5-3.
Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) capped off the inning with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Hawkins for the 5th run of the frame.
On the other side of the scorecard, Brendan Lawry (So, Waubonsie Valley CC) was rock solid, tossing four scoreless innings without allowing a hit to set up Ross Thompson (R-Jr, Heidelberg) for a scoreless 8th and Tucker Shalley (Fr, Parkland College) for the save in the 9th.
The victory moves the Rivets record to 5-0 at Rivets Stadium against the Growlers this summer.
Rockford will close the season series with Kalamazoo tomorrow at 6:05 at Rivets Stadium. Ryan Culley (So, Central Michigan) will start for the Rivets.
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