LOVES PARK, Ill. - The Gateway Grizzlies took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the tenth inning against the Rockford Aviators, but the Gateway bullpen was unable to seal the victory, as the Aviators won it 5-4 on Justin Fox's two-RBI single in the bottom half of the tenth.
With a runner on first base and two outs in the tenth, Grizzlies' right-hander Scott Harkin (1-3) allowed a single to Cody Lenahan. That put the tying and winning runs on first and second for the Aviators. RHP Byron Minnich came on to replace Harkin and allowed an infield single to Josh Davis, which loaded the bases. Fox stepped in against Minnich and laced the game winner to score Danny Steinstra and Dusty Robinson.
Before the Aviators' rally in the tenth, the Grizzlies took the lead in the top half of the inning on Ben Waldrip's RBI double. Waldrip's hit off RHP Matt Frahm (1-1) gave the Grizzlies a 4-3 lead.
Gateway (15-31) and Rockford (29-16) went back and forth all afternoon long, with the Aviators striking first in the fourth inning. Grizzlies' starter Max Schonfeld allowed a leadoff single to Dusty Robinson. He came around to score when Davis grounded into a double play. Michael Hur delivered an RBI single to make it 2-0.
In the fifth inning, the Grizzlies chipped away against Rockford starter Payton Baskette. Grant Buckner smoked a single in the fifth which scored Cody Livesay to cut the deficit in half. Buckner picked up his team-leading 27th RBI.
Gateway's offense came alive again in the seventh. Livesay walked to start the frame against RHP Cory Lapeze. After a sacrifice bunt, Buckner came up and drove in Livesay with an RBI triple. Blake Brown then stepped in and drove in Buckner on a sacrifice fly, giving the Grizzlies a 3-2 lead.
The Grizzlies' bullpen was unable to hold the lead in the eighth. With a runner on first base, Davis smacked a run-scoring double off the right field wall, tying the game at 3-3. The score remained that way until the Grizzlies jumped on top momentarily in the tenth.
The Grizzlies and Aviators play the final game of their series tomorrow evening at Aviator Stadium. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. The Grizzlies send RHP Donny Murray (0-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound. The Aviators go with RHP Tony Rizzoti (5-0, 1.11 ERA). Sam Levitt will call the action on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN's digital channels and 1400 AM KJFF.