Aviators drop series finale to Grays 6-5.
The Rockford Aviators (1-2) rallied for two runs in the ninth inning Sunday, but came up one short, losing to the Frontier Greys (2-1) by a final score of 6-5 in front of 1,214 at Aviators Stadium in Loves Park.
The Greys jumped out to a 3-0 lead after five innings before the Aviators were finally able to get on the board in the sixth. A hit batter, three walks, and a past-ball allowed the Aviators to get two runs without the benefit of a hit, making the score 3-2 Greys after six.
The Greys got a run back in the seventh when Brock McCallister led off with a single and scored three batters later, thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly to deep center by Mike Gallic and the Greys led 4-2.
Rockford plated another run in the bottom of the seventh. After doubling with one out, Eric Bainer scored on an RBI single from Alvaro Ramirez to make it a 4-3 ballgame in favor of the Greys, where it stayed until the ninth.
Josh Schneider was able to retire the first two Greys batters in the ninth, but hit Tillman Pugh, who scored from first on a double by Chris Kay one batter later. The next batter, Mike Gallic, singled to score Kay and the Greys let 6-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
With one out, Ray Hernandez collected his first professional hit and, after Ramirez walked, scored on a two-RBI single from Nash Hutter to cut the Greys' lead to 6-5. The following batter, Ray Delvalle, hit a sinking line-drive to right that was caught by a sliding Tillman Pugh, who alertly fired to first to double off Hutter at first to end the game one run short.
The Greys' starter, knuckleballer Joe Zeller (1-0) went 5.2 innings, allowed just two runs on seven hits on his way to picking up the win. Jon Gulbransen started and took the loss for the Aviators. Gulbransen pitched 6 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out five. Grey's reliever Bryce Shafer picked up the save, his second of the season.
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