RiverHawks finish sweep in front of sellout
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July 2, 2009 - LOVES PARK, Ill. – One of the largest crowds in RiverHawks history watched Rockford finish a rare feat and an old record fall.

The RiverHawks beat Gateway, 6-2, in front of a standing room-only crowd of 5,677 Thursday at Road Ranger Stadium. Rockford completed a three-game series sweep in which it never trailed. The RiverHawks went a perfect 6-0 in the Grizzlies’ two trips to the Stateline this season. It was the first time in five years Rockford had gone undefeated in its own park against an opponent who made multiple visits.

Jason James had two doubles in four at-bats and extended his hitting streak to 29 games, one short of the Frontier League record. James broke Ben Fjelland’s all-time doubles record of 68 with his second two-base hit.

The RiverHawks scored a pair of unearned runs in the second inning. Chad Rothford led off the Gateway fifth inning with a home run and the Grizzlies scored an unearned run in the sixth inning to tie the game at 2-2.

Rockford rallied for four runs in the sixth inning off Gateway starter Nathan Melek (3-3) to regain the lead. Matt Mazurek singled in the go-ahead run. Melek threw a run-scoring wild pitch. With two outs, Robert Sabates doubled in two runs.

Rockford starter Jay Monti (4-3) scattered two runs, one earned, on three hits for the win. Closer John Muller entered with two on and nobody out in the ninth. Muller retired the next three and struck out the final two batters to earn his ninth save.

The last time Rockford went undefeated at home against an opponent who made multiple visits was in 2004, when the RiverHawks were 9-0 at Marinelli Field against the Mid-Missouri Mavericks.

The RiverHawks, at 18-21, are within three games of .500 for the first time in more than two weeks.

The RiverHawks hit the road for a three-game series at River City. The series opener, scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Friday, is not scheduled for local broadcast. If James has a base hit, he will tie the league record for longest hitting streak in a single season, set by River City’s Michael Robertson in 2001 and matched by Florence’s Mike Galloway in 2005.

The RiverHawks come home at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday to play Traverse City. It’s a corporate buyout. The Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 23 has purchased all available seats in the ballpark and is inviting Stateline baseball fans to join them at the stadium. Fans must visit the stadium box office in person to claim their tickets.

The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, a 12-team independent professional baseball league in its 17th season. The RiverHawks host the 2009 Frontier League All-Star Game at 7:05 p.m. on July 15. 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.


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