Aviators Drop Home Opener

The Aviators were shut out by River City 2-0 Friday night.
LOVES PARK, IL - The Rockford Aviators dropped their season opener to the River City Rascals Friday 2-0.

The game started out as a pitchers' duel between Aviators' starter Nick Cicio and Rascals' starter Dane Stone.  The two battled neck and neck through the first four innings with each only giving up one hit to the opposing team.  Rascals Manager, Steve Brook pulled his starter after four innings, but got a couple of great relief innings from Ray Hanson who eventually went on to win the game.  Hanson picked up the win after pitching two scoreless innings of relief while striking out three batters.

The wheels eventually came off for Nick Cicio in the seventh inning where he gave up three hits and a wild throw from first baseman Kenny Bryant allowed the first Rascals run to score, and they never looked back.

Cicio finished the night pitching six and two thirds innings while giving up four hits allowing one run to score and striking out four.

Josh Smoker, the Aviators first round draft pick in the 2014 Frontier League Draft, had a rough first outing in an Aviators uniform.  The left-handed pitcher gave up two hits in relief, one of which was a double to the number nine hitter, Hector Crespo who eventually came around to score on an RBI single by Taylor Ard.

The Aviators didn't make much noise offensively.  The team combined for a total of three hits and left five runners on base.

There was a moment in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Aviators showed a spark of offense.  Shortstop Danny Gonzalez reached first on an error by Rascals pitcher Nick Kennedy and second baseman, Tanner Witt, followed up with a double to right field to put runners on second and third with two outs.  However, the Aviators were unable to push the runners across as Jeff Kremer grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning.

Game two of the three game series with the River City Rascals takes place Saturday at 7:05pm.
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