July 11, 2009 - KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Rockford closer John Muller twice frustrated the comeback efforts of the Kalamazoo Kings on Saturday. The Kings got the possible tying run on base in the eighth inning and to the plate in the ninth, but Muller recorded a four-out save as the RiverHawks held on for a 9-6 win.
Matt Mazurek and Robert Sabates each homered as the RiverHawks ran their winning streak to five. Tim Brown homered for the Kings, who have lost a season-high five in a row.
Jason James was 2-for-5 and extended his Frontier League-record hitting streak to 37 games, the longest active streak in professional baseball. Seattle farmhand James McOwen’s 45-game hitting streak with High Desert of the Class A California League ended on Friday.
The two leadoff homers – Mazurek’s was in the fourth; Sabates hit his in the eighth – were the only runs Rockford scored with fewer than two out. Rockford built a 5-0 lead on a pair of two-out hits – Sabates’ RBI single in the first inning and Todd Martin’s three-run triple in the second – and Mazurek’s third home run of the year. Kalamazoo starter Ben Rue (1-1) left after he allowed Mazurek’s towering drive to right field.
Kalamazoo strung together four straight hits in the sixth inning for a three-run rally that drove Rockford starter Brett Durand (5-3) from the mound. Amos Ramon broke the shutout with a RBI single. Kyle Higgins doubled home a run and Ramon scored on a groundout by Jett Ruiz.
Brown homered to right-center in the seventh to cut Rockford’s lead to 5-4. The RiverHawks scored three insurance runs in the top of the eighth, but gave up a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the inning. Kalamazoo coughed up an unearned run in the Rockford ninth inning.
Muller earned his 11th save. He entered with two aboard and two out in the bottom of the eighth and retired Brendan Murphy on a groundout to shortstop. In the ninth, singles by Ramon and Higgins and Rockford’s fourth error of the game put runners on the corners with two outs. Muller struck out Ruiz looking to end the game.
The series finale is at 1:05 p.m. CDT and will be broadcast live on ESPN 1380.
The RiverHawks host the 2009 Frontier League All-Star celebration July 14-15. The Jim Beam Cubs/White Sox Legends Game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday. The All-Star Home Run Derby immediately follows. The 2009 Frontier League All-Star Game is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Wednesday.
The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league in its 17th season. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com. Most games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380, and on the team website.