Grand slam lifts Wild Things to sweep of RiverHawks
Online Staff Report
LOVES PARK, Ill. — Shain Stoner’s first-inning grand slam Thursday, Aug. 23, lifted the Washington Wild Things to an 11-5 victory and series sweep of the Rockford RiverHawks at RiverHawks Stadium.
A.J. Nunziato put Washington ahead 1-0 with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. Later on in the inning, Stoner connected on the grand slam to left field off Rockford starter Drew Rucinski to give the visitors a 5-0 lead.
Stoner’s slam was his second home run in as many nights, and he also added an RBI double in the ninth inning and finished the night 2-for-4 with five RBIs.
Rucinski (6-4) pitched into the eighth inning but lost his third consecutive decision as he gave up seven runs on 11 hits.
Greg Van Horn and Evan Button’s RBI singles in the second and third innings cut the Washington lead to 5-2, but the Wild Things scored twice in the fifth inning to make it a 7-2 game. A.J. Nunziato led off the inning with a solo homer and finished the game 3-for-5 with three RBIs and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle.
Rockford chipped away at the Washington lead as Button homered to right in the fifth inning off Washington starter Shawn Smith. The RiverHawks scored two more times in the sixth inning off Eric Blackwell to cut the lead to 7-5, but they could not break through.
Smith (2-4) picked up the win, giving up three runs in five innings.
Washington’s Darian Sandford stole another base in the first inning to give him 65 on the season, just one shy of the Frontier League single-season record of 64 set by Don DeDonatis of the Kalamazoo Kodiaks in 1997. Sandford attempted to tie the record in the eighth inning, but he was thrown out by Mike Thomas.
The Wild Things scored four more runs in the ninth inning off Garrett Granitz.
The RiverHawks open a three-game series Friday, Aug. 24, at RiverHawks Stadium against the Schaumburg Boomers. Friday’s probables on the mound are Schaumburg’s Cody Griebling (4-2, 2.77 ERA) and Rockford’s Ziggie VanderWall (7-5, 4.77 ERA).
Friday is Baseball Card Set Giveaway Night at RiverHawks Stadium. The first 500 fans through the gates receive a set of RiverHawks cards, sponsored by LDR Construction Services Inc. Cleaning and Restoration. Also, EuroTech will be giving away a new security door.
The RiverHawks (36-51) are in fifth place (out of seven) in the Frontier League West Division, 15 games behind the division-leading Gateway Grizzlies (51-36).
The RiverHawks are members of the Frontier League, an independent professional baseball league in its 20th season. Games are broadcast on NTA-FM (100.5). Advertising and ticket information is available by calling (815) 885-2255. Fans can also visit www.rockfordriverhawks.com.
Posted Aug. 24, 2012
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