LOVES PARK, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — After Rockford found itself down 8-1 to Kokomo in the 3rd inning, the game came down to a play at the plate in the bottom of the 9th – but the Rivets fell 8-7 to split the series with the Jackrabbits on Tuesday night at Rivets Stadium.
Rockford’s starting pitcher Bryce Barnett (R-Fr, Arizona State) got knocked around for 8 runs on 8 hits in 2 plus innings – including 5 in the first two frames.
After Barnett couldn’t make it out of the third, the Rivets’ bullpen kept the Jackrabbits off the scoreboard the rest of the game, hurling 7 scoreless innings.
Rockford’s comeback started in the bottom of the 4th, as Phil Matulia (Jr, Louisiana Tech) reached on an error and Cam McDonald (R-So, Illinois) followed with a single, setting up Grant Magill (R-Fr, Indiana State) for a two-RBI single to trim the lead to 8-3.
Action subsided until the bottom of the 7th inning. Rockford started the inning by recording two outs, before Tyeler Hawkins (R-Fr, Louisville) and Daniel Cantu (R-Fr, South Florida) picked up back-to-back singles and Wade Elliott (So, Louisiana Tech) was hit with a pitch to load the bases.
Matulia then stepped to the plate, and sent a towering fly ball to right field. As Kokomo’s rightfieder Dyan Dennis (So, Loyola Marymount) moved towards center to make the play, he lost the ball and couldn’t make a diving catch, leading to a bases-clearing double to make the score 8-6.
The Rivets bullpen held the score there, as Bradley Deboutte (R-So, Wright State) pitched a scoreless 8th and Chan Yao-Ming (Jr, Kainan University – Taiwan) set down the ‘Rabbits in the 9th.
In the bottom of the 9th, Hawkins started the inning with a four-pitch walk off Kokomo closer Tommy Peltier (So, Canisius). The walk was followed by two straight fielder’s choices, bringing the Rivets to their final out with a runner on first.
Matulia then singled to left, moving Elliott to second base. McDonald then sent a routine ground ball to first base, but Martin Vinchelli-Simard (So, Sacramento State) booted it, loading the bases for Jared Cushing (R-Fr, Xavier).
Cushing sent a sharp line drive up the middle to score Elliott, but Matulia was thrown out by a laser-like throw from center field Jacob Marsee (R-Fr, Central Michigan) to end the game.
The loss drops Rockford to 9-13 on the season.