By Bill Smith
LOVES PARK, Ill. — The Rockford RiverHawks earned a series sweep over the Road Warriors Aug. 28-30 to finish their 2012 home schedule.
In the series opener Tuesday, Aug. 28, Matt Greener smacked a three-run homer that propelled the RiverHawks to a 7-5 win.
Greener’s blast, his fifth of the season, came with two outs off starter Sheng-An Kuo and gave Rockford a 3-1 lead.
Kyle Schepel (4-6) picked up the win as he allowed two earned runs on three hits and six walks in 6 1/3 innings. Kuo (0-10) yielded three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in a losing effort.
The Road Warriors trailed 4-3 and loaded the bases in both the seventh and eighth innings, but reliever Mickey Cassidy worked out of the jams to preserve the Rockford lead.
The RiverHawks added three insurance runs in the eighth inning to go ahead 7-3. The Road Warriors scored twice in the ninth inning on a two-run single by David Roney, but Garrett Granitz shut the door by striking out Wesley Jones to end the game and pick up his 12th save.
In the middle game of the series, Drew Rucinski tossed a complete game for Rockford, and they used a six-run seventh inning to beat the visitors 9-2.
Rucinski (7-4) threw 91 of his 135 pitches for strikes and allowed two runs on five hits while striking out eight batters. Rucinski’s effort was the first Rockford complete-game win of the year and first since Brett Scarpetta went the distance against the Lake Erie Crushers Aug. 28, 2011.
Greener’s RBI groundout in the fifth inning gave Rockford a 3-2 lead. In the seventh inning, the RiverHawks sent 10 men to the plate and put up six runs off relievers Kevin McGovern and Jon Jones. Greener’s two-run single made it 5-2, and after Justino Cuevas was intentionally walked to load the bases, Mike Thomas broke the game open with a bases-clearing double that pushed the Rockford lead to 8-2.
RiverHawks shortstop Ted Obregon led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run, the second time he hit a leadoff homer this season.
Greener went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Rockford, his third-straight three-RBI game. Thomas also had a sacrifice fly and finished the night 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Trevor Whyte went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games, raising his batting average to .372.
The RiverHawks completed the sweep Thursday, Aug. 30, by recording season highs in hits and runs in a 17-9 victory.
Rockford tallied a season-high 21 hits, with seven batters recording mult-hit games.
The RiverHawks led 8-4 after two innings behind Evan Button and Whyte home runs, but the Road Warriors scored once in the third and three times in the fourth inning to chase starter Ziggie VanderWall and tie the game at 8-8.
The offense answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring the go-ahead run as Button stole third base and scored on an errant throw by catcher Roney.
Tyree Hayes (1-0) allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings and got the win. Cassidy pitched three innings of scoreless relief for Rockford.
Scott Foster (0-1) was the loser as he allowed two earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.
The RiverHawks scored six more runs in the eighth inning off Chris Kaminski to put the game out of reach.
Michael Hur and Greener both had four hits in the Rockford win. Whyte went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and extended his hitting streak to 15 games. Jet Butler was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.
Aaron Glaum hit his first homer of the year to lead off the game for the Road Warriors. Ben Magsig also slugged his first homer of the year in the first inning.
Rockford has won four straight games and stands at 40-53 and in fifth place (out of seven) in the Frontier League West division.
The RiverHawks wrap up their 2012 season with a three-game series at the first-place Gateway Grizzlies.
Posted Sept. 4, 2012