It didn’t take long for the Rockford Rivets (2-2) to move up to the .500 mark on the season.
Despite giving up two solo home runs to Steve Mangrum (Virginia Tech) of the Wisconsin Woodchucks (1-3), Jeffrey Barton (Illinois State) settled in for the Rivets and pitched five strong innings to lead Rockford to a victory.
The game began with Mangrum taking Barton deep to right center in the top of the first inning. Rockford answered with a sacrifice fly from Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State) to score Nate Montgomery (South Suburban College) in the bottom of the second. The game was tied until the third inning, where Mangrum took Barton deep again, this time to left field. But the Rivets responded with two more runs of their own, both coming off sacrifices from Montgomery and Keith Kerrigan (Triton College), to take the 3-2 lead.
From there, the Rivets gained control. Barton (1-0) pitched through the fifth inning, and kept the Woodchucks at bay. The Rivets’ bats came to life again in the fourth, scoring two more runs off a Woodchucks error and a double by Hutchinson.
Jon Laird (Ohio) pitched the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings in relief without giving up a hit to the Woodchucks. Rockford added more insurance runs down the stretch; they punched in two runs in the fourth, one in the sixth, and five in the eighth. Dylan Stutsman (Indianapolis) finished off the night in the ninth and secured Rockford’s second victory of the season.