Rockford pitcher Seafth Howe struck out 10 batters through 6.2 innings of scoreless baseball in Traverse City on Saturday, but the Rockford Aviators, presented by Pearson, gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth and lost 2-1.
The Aviators (1-7) got on the board first when Kenny Bryant led off the top of the sixth. Bryant advanced to second on a Matt Greener single and then to third on a flyout to center by Eric Bainer. Bryant then scored when the pitched went off the glove of catcher Marcus Nidiffer and to the backstop for a passed ball.
Though that was the only run scored by Rockford in the game, it wasn't their only scoring chance. The Aviators loaded the bases with two outs in the first and second innings, but were unable to bring anyone across the plate.
Nick Cicio came on to try for the save in the ninth, but took the loss for Rockford.With one out and a runner at first, Traverse City's Nidiffer hit a fly ball to right-center. Aviators' center fielder lost it in the lights and the ball landed for a double that put runners on the corners. Cicio then intentially walked Zach Kometani to load the bases with one out. Matt Howard then singled to score Taylor Wrenn to tie the game at 1. Ryan Still followed with a fielder's choice, scoring Nidiffer and earning the Beach Bums a walk-off victory with the final score 2-1.
Traverse City reliever Nick Capito pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two on his way to picking up his first win of the season.