Defensive errors have been an issue for Rockford this season, and Wednesday night they changed the outcome of the game.
Cole Bellair (Illinois) gave a strong seven-inning start for the Rivets, but five Rockford errors allowed the Kenosha Kingfish to take the 9-7 victory in 10 innings.
Bellair gave up two early runs in the 1st inning. Connor Doyle (San Diego) scored off a Chris Botsoe (Iowa Western) single, and Botsoe eventually came home off a Cameron Comer (Virginia) double for an early 2-0 Kingfish lead.
However, Bellair settled down and Rockford quickly went ahead. JC DeMuri (Quincy) scored the Rivets’ first run in the 2nd inning when Nate Montgomery (South Suburban) doubled off Kenosha starter George Faue (Northern Illinois). Neal Tyrell (Lewis) and Montgomery also scored in the inning to give Rockford the 3-2 lead.
The Rivets added runs in the 3rd inning. Jeremy Houston (Indiana) drove in Zach Rheams (Texas Tech) and DeMuri with an RBI single.
The Rivets led until the 6th inning, when the Kingfish came roaring back. A fielding error by Bren Spillane (Illinois) allowed Comer to get on base, and an ensuing fielding error by Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State) let Comer and Max Widmar (Wisconsin-Parkside) come home, cutting Rockford’s lead to 5-4.
Bellair’s outing ended after the 7th, and Zack Thomas (Chicago St.) came in for him in the 8th. However, a Comer leadoff double led to an eventual run when Derek Bangert (Bradley) brought him home with an RBI double of his own to tie the game.
In the 9th, it looked as if the Kingfish had sealed the deal. Thomas walked Doyle to start off the inning, and scored when Nick Zouras (Illinois State) hit a triple deep to the left field gap. Zouras later came home off a Comer single to give Kenosha the 7-5 lead.
But the Rivets’ bats finally showed signs of life in the bottom of the 9th. Hutchinson led off the inning with a single and scored off a passed ball. Spillane then drove in Eric Cole (Arkansas) to tie the ballgame.
But the Kingfish only needed one extra frame to take care of business. Another Rockford fielding error by Brian Klein (Texas Tech) led to a two-run single by Anthony Warneke (San Diego City), which gave Kenosha a lead they would not give up. Rockford could not come back again in the 10th, and they fell by a final score of 9-7.
Thomas (3-1) took the loss for Rockford, and Zach Stromberg (Boston College, 2-1) notched the win for Kenosha.