Brooks and Simon homer as RiverHawks win, 8-5
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May 24, 2010 - GARY, Ind. – Jono Brooks and Randall Simon each hit home runs, and Rockford pitching combined on a five-hitter, as the RiverHawks rallied to beat the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 8-5, in a Monday matinee at U.S. Steel Yard.

Brooks (above) hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off Gary reliever Jeff Williams in the sixth inning to cap a four-run rally. His second home run of the season, his 19th in four seasons with the RiverHawks, moved him into a tie for fourth on the team’s all-time record book. Simon, a former Chicago Cub, hit his first for Rockford, which has won four straight games.

Rockford starter Brett Durand struck out two without a walk over six innings for the win. Durand (1-0), the team’s fifth starting pitcher, is the third this season to go at least six innings without a walk.

Simon led off the fourth with a towering blast well beyond the fence in right-center. Gary starter Ryan Zink gave up just two other hits – both in the first inning – and struck out seven, but got a no-decision. Zink left with a 4-3 lead a batter after Rich Austin walked to lead off the Rockford sixth inning.

Williams relieved Zink, and with two outs, walked Jake Eigsti on four pitches, then fell behind the following two batters as well. On a 3-1 pitch, Elvin Millan blooped a game-tying RBI single into right field for his first professional hit. On the same count, Brooks drove a Williams fastball over the wall in left.

Williams (0-1), acquired from Grand Prairie of the American Association for cash Monday morning, gave up three runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings and took the loss. Brooks had been 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk in his career against Williams, who had been Traverse City’s closer when the RiverHawks played in the Frontier League. Brooks moved into a three-way tie with Gooby Gerlits and Brandon Cohen on the team’s career home-run list.

Durand gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits. He retired the last 10 he faced in order. After the first two innings, the RailCats didn’t again reach scoring position until the eighth, when they scored without a base hit. The Rockford bullpen pitched three hitless innings. Scott Roehl pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save.

The series continues at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The RiverHawks return to Loves Park to play the RailCats at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Fans who donate blood to the Rock River Valley Blood Center this summer can receive free tickets for RRVBC “Straight From the Heart” Wednesday home games.

The RiverHawks are members of the Northern League, an eight-team independent professional baseball league in its 18th season. Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Games are broadcast live on ESPN 1380 (WTJK-AM) and on ESPN1380.com. Fans can also visit the RiverHawks online at www.rockfordriverhawks.com.


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