Nelson Goes the Distance, Vander Wal Homers to Split Doubleheader
LOVES PARK, Ill. - With the bats having gone cold earlier in the day and the largest crowd on hand this season, the Rockford Rivets (4-8) surged past the Kokomo Jackrabbits (5-7) in game two of the doubleheader Saturday, 6-1.
Rockford's offense failed to produce a run in game one, tallying only six hits and striking out seven times against a combination of Kokomo's Creede Jeffers and Joey Haass on the mound.
The Jackrabbits sent out Blaine Traxel, Northwoods League All-Star and the league's strikeout leader for game two. By the end of the third inning, Traxel had already fanned 5 Rivets.
Kokomo's 1-0 lead in the fourth inning would not last for long. Easton Murrell (Texas Tech) led off the frame by reaching on a throwing error, and Jake Vander Wal (Long Beach State) launched a ball to the party porch off of Traxel for his 3rd home run of the season. One bat flip later, the Rivets led 2-1 for their first advantage of the twin bill.
With Vander Wal, who finished with 3 runs batted in, having delivered the punch in front of a crowd of 2,157 at Rivets Stadium - the largest attendance number of the season - The Rivets offense followed him up with a 4-run 5th inning to give starter Jordan Nelson (Dubuque) a comfortable lead.
After allowing 4 runs on 10 hits his last start, Nelson worked quickly through the Jackrabbits' lineup. The 6-foot-5 right-hander struck out a season-high 8 batters over 7 innings, going the distance for his second win of the year. Nelson joins Brad Littleton (Lewis) as the second Rockford hurler to throw a complete game on the campaign.
Right-handed pitcher Nathan Schneiderman is Sunday's probable starter for the Rivets. Game time against the Kokomo Jackrabbits is slated for 1:05 P.M.
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