ROCKFORD, IL – The ThunderBolts tied their season-high with eight runs, but dropped the opener against Rockford 12-8 in a three hour forty-four minute game at RiverHawks Stadium Monday night.
The Bolts held an early lead scoring single runs in the second and third. After the RiverHawks scored one in the first, Zach Aakhus hit his second home run of the year in the second to even the score. In the third, Bryan Burke walked and eventually scored on a Mike Torres single.
The lead was short-lived as the RiverHawks got one back in the third. Evan Button singled, stole second and crossed the plate on a Jet Butler base hit. Michael Hur’s solo home run in the fourth gave Rockford a lead they would not relinquish.
In the fifth, the RiverHawks put together a two-out rally. With two on, Matt Greener doubled home a run and Hur blasted his second homer of the night, a three-run shot to put Rockford up by five.
The Bolts fought back with two runs in the sixth and two in the seventh. Jareck West picked up an RBI double and later scored on an error to cut the lead to 7-4 in the sixth, but Joey Gradney struck out Chad Cregar with the bases loaded to limit any further damage that inning. The seventh inning was highlighted by a Brandon Decker double, putting runners at second and third. Aakhus, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on a balk and Decker scored on a Travis Weaver infield single.
Over the next two innings, the RiverHawks were able to put the game away, scoring five combined runs. Greener and Mike Thomas had RBI hits in the seventh and in the eighth, Hur and Daniel Gonzalez collected RBIs to cement the victory.
The ThunderBolts kept fighting in the ninth, scoring two more runs, but it wasn’t enough in a 12-8 loss.
Mike Recchia (3-1) struck out 12 RiverHawks, but allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 6.1 innings to take the loss. Ziggie Vanderwall (2-1) got the win. Mickey Cassidy picked up his first save.
Game two of the series is Tuesday night at 7:05 at RiverHawks Stadium. Stephen Sauer (2-0, 2.31) will start for the ThunderBolts against Rockford’s Mike Lee (0-0, 0.84). The game can be heard on WXAV 88.3 fm and WXAV.com.