Aviators drop opener, avoid sweep

Online Staff Report

 With their backs against the wall coming into Sunday’s game (May 18), the Rockford Aviators (1-2), presented by Pearson, finally put all of the pieces together and avoided the opening series sweep with a 7-3 decision over the River City Rascals (2-1).

Starting pitcher, Josh Slaats (1-0), gave up a a run in the first, but that was all he allowed as he threw six innings on his way to picking up his first victory of the season.

The Aviators trailed 1-0 until the fifth inning when Danny Gonzalez reached on an fielder’s choice to short with the bases loaded and Rascals shortstop threw home to try and retire the lead runner, Kyle Dhanani, who slid in under the tag to get the second Aviator’s run of the game.

However, the Rascals didn’t go away quietly.  In the top of the eighth inning, Rascals third baseman, Taylor Ard blasted his first home run of the season, a two run shot, over the left field wall to cut the Aviator’s lead to 4-3.

But in the bottom half of the inning, the Aviators loaded the bases for the fifth time this season and Gonzalez slapped a two RBI single to center field to score Kenny Bryant and Jeff Kremer to give the Aviators some insurance runs and extend the lead to 7-3.

Gerardo Sanchez entered the game in the ninth and walked two of the first three batters he faced, but eventually retired the side to give the Aviators their first victory of the season.

The Aviators have the next two nights off before a six-game road trip.  They head south to Evansville, Ind., to take on the Evansville Otters in a three game series beginning with a double header at 5:35pm on Wednesday followed by game three on Thursday beginning at 6:35 p.m. The team travels to Washington, Penn., for a weekend series against the Washington Wild Things.

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