SAUGET, Ill. -- Blake Brown launched the first pitch he saw over the right field fence in the bottom of the tenth inning to give the Gateway Grizzlies a 3-2 walk-off win over the Rockford Aviators on Saturday night at GCS Ballpark.
It was a pitcher's duel early on at GCS Ballpark as the game remained scoreless after four innings. Gateway starter Vincent Molesky was terrific, allowing just four hits and two runs in 7.2 innings of work.
However, he ran into his first bit of trouble in the fifth inning.The win for Gateway (13-25) was their third walk-off victory this season. Meanwhile, the Aviators (24-12) fell to the Grizzlies for the first time this season with the loss.
After retiring the first 13 batters he faced, Brian Bistagne stepped in and lifted a solo home run over the short right field fence to give Rockford their first hit and run of the game.
The Gateway offense backed Molesky up with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. Back-to-back infield singles by Seth Heck and Cody Livesay put runners at first and second with one out. After Ryan Soares popped out, Rolando Gomez delivered a two-RBI stand-up double to give the Grizzlies the 2-1 lead.
The score would remain that way until the top of the seventh, when Rockford would even up the score via the long ball. Dusty Robinson launched his second home run of the season over the left field fence to lead off the seventh inning and make it 2-2.
Gateway put runners on base in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn't capitalize until the 10th. That's when Brown crushed the first pitch he saw over the fence to give Gateway a 3-2 walk-off win.
Brett Zawacki (3-1) earned the victory after allowing one hit in his one inning of work. He came on for the ninth inning and stranded the go-ahead run for Rockford at third base with one out. Colby Holmes (1-3) took the loss.
Ben Waldrip paced the Gateway offense with three hits on his 25th birthday. Cody Livesay pitched in two hits and Rolando Gomez had two runs batted in.
The Grizzlies will go for the series victory Sunday night in the rubber game of the series. RHP Tyler Thompson (1-4, 3.71) will pitch for Gateway and RHP Kyle Brueggemann (4-2, 3.04) will take the mound for the Aviators.
The game can be heard on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101.1 FM (WXOS-FM), 101 ESPN's digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF. Sam Levitt and former St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander Brad Thompson will call the action.