The Gateway Grizzlies’ offense fell silent Friday night in a 9-4 loss to the Rockford Aviators at GCS Ballpark.
The Grizzlies (12-25) have now lost four consecutive games. Meanwhile, Rockford (24-11) improved to 4-0 against Gateway this season with the victory.
Rockford jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the top of the fifth inning and never looked back. Devon Rodriguez singled to lead off the second inning, advanced to third on a single by Brian Bistagne and scored on an RBI groundout by Tyler Smith to start the scoring.
The Aviators then added two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings. A hit by pitch and a walk started the fourth, before a sacrifice fly by Smith and an RBI single by Anthony Renteria brought them both in to make it 3-0 Aviators. Rockford added two more in the fifth inning on an RBI sacrifice fly by Dusty Robinson and a single by Bistagne.
LHP Payton Baskette (1-1) had only allowed one hit against the Gateway offense through four innings, before they finally broke out for three runs in the fifth. After a strikeout to start the inning, the Grizzlies rattled off four consecutive hits. The final two, a two-RBI double by newcomer Craig Massoni and an RBI triple by Jared Welch, cut the deficit to 5-3.
However, two walks and a wild pitch allowed the Aviators to tack on one more in the sixth inning and another in the seventh off two Gateway errors. Rockford added two more runs in the ninth inning on an RBI single by Smith and an RBI double by Ryan Breen to make it 9-3.
Gateway would get one run in the final frame thanks to a two-out RBI single by Cody Livesay.
RHP Troy Barton (0-2) took the loss in his first start of the season. He allowed six hits and five runs in 4.2 innings of work. Rolando Gomez led the Gateway offense with two hits and two runs scored.
The Grizzlies and Aviators continue their series Saturday night at GCS Ballpark. Vincent Molesky (3-2, 5.82) will take the mound for Gateway and RHP Tony Rizzotti (4-0, 0.83) will pitch for Rockford. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt and Kevin Schaefer will call the action.