Rich pitches Rockford to win in season opener
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Kaleb Rich of Washington was the opening-day starter for Rockford College on Sunday, and he dazzled on the mound, surrendering just one run on one hit in 6 1/3 innings of work as the Regents defeated Mitchell College 6-4 at the Player Development Complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
The season opener quickly turned into a pitcher’s duel as both offenses struggled to string hits together. The Regents finally broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning when shortstop Joe Rigg drove in the team’s first run of the season with a single to left field. After a sacrifice fly scored another run, Daryn Streed tripled in Rigg to give Rockford a 3-0 lead.
Mitchell answered with runs in the seventh and eighth innings to make it a 3-2 game. Rockford freshman Cole Logemann started off the top of the ninth by hammering a double off the wall in center field for his second double of the game. Catcher Terry Wiltshire followed Logeman’s double with a hard-hit single to right to put runners on first and third with nobody out. After a walk, Rigg collected his second RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly. Junior Bryan Grabowski and Steed each knocked in an additional insurance run to give the Regents a comfortable 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Mariners mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth. They scored a pair of runs and had two men on base when Rigg, who came on to pitch the game’s final 2 2/3 innings, struck out the final batter of the game to earn the save.
Rich, a 2010 graduate of Washington High School, threw 109 pitches in the game before giving way to Rigg in the seventh. The junior right-hander never really found himself in much trouble until the fourth inning, when Mitchell loaded the bases off two Rockford errors. But Rich dug deep and induced an inning-ending groundout to end the threat. From there he cruised until the top of the seventh inning when he left the game after recording one out.
Rich, the son of Scott and Janet Rich, went 5-4 with a 4.96 earned run average in his first two seasons at Rockford. The Regents returned to the field at 10 a.m. this morning for a doubleheader against Gettysburg College in Fort Myers, Fla.