RiverHawks ninth-inning rally goes to waste in 9-8 loss
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July 15, 2006 - WASHINGTON, Penn. ­– The Rockford RiverHawks had one of their best comebacks of the season in the ninth inning against Washington Wild Things closer Jim Popp. The 'Hawks scored three times to tie the game 8-8, but an unearned run off Ryan Brnardic in the bottom of the inning gave Washington the 9-8 victory.

Brad Dutton led off the final frame with a single, then Joe Anthonsen, Rico Santana, Nick Johnson, and Bo Flowers all hit singles, with the last three driving in runs.

Rockford had runners at second and third with just one out, but Popp struck out Stephen Holdren, then Stephen Spragg relieved and got Gooby Gerlits to fly out to end the inning.

In the ninth, pitcher Derek Roper came in to play first base after Flowers had pinch hit for Scott Lefler, who began the game at the bag. Pat Peavey began the inning with a hard-hit ball to third that Dutton could not handle, and the error put a runner at first. Jason Bucholtz came in to pinch run, and he made it to third with two outs. Chris Carter then hit a ball hard, but right at Roper. Roper, who had not played in the field during his professional career, could not handle it. It was ruled a base hit, and it ended the game as Bucholtz came in to score.

Brnardic (0-1) took the loss. Spragg (2-4) got the win for getting out of the ninth-inning jam.

Eleven pitchers were used in the game, not counting Roper playing the field.

The RiverHawks have begun the second half of the season by losing two in a row to Washington. They will try to avoid the sweep when they take the field at 5:35 on Sunday. Rockford returns home for a three-game series with Gateway beginning on Monday with the Petco Dog Days of Summer, where fans can bring their dogs to the park.

Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick will be at RiverHawks Stadium for Tuesday's game. Jerseys modelled after her racing uniform will be worn by the players; after the game, they will be autographed and auctioned off to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 10-team independent professional baseball league in its 14th season. Advertising, ticket and suite information is available by calling the box office at (815) 885-2255. All games are broadcast live on WRHL-FM, 102.3 – the Hub and online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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