Mavericks waste 12-hit effort

Sunday, June 27, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:48 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

Although the Mid-Missouri Mavericks had 12 hits, they couldn’t produce them when they needed them the most.

As a result, the Mavericks lost to the Rockford RiverHawks 10-4 on Saturday at Taylor Stadium in a Frontier League game. The loss dropped the Mavericks to 5-30, and the RiverHawks improved to 22-13.

Mavericks manager Jim Gentile said they need hitters to produce more with runners on base.

“Big hitters didn’t come through, and you can’t win without fourth and fifth hitters hitting,” Gentile said. “Our pitchers (three relievers) didn’t keep the score down and everybody seems to be in a slump.”

The RiverHawks clinched the win by scoring a run in the eighth and extended the lead to 10-2 with six in the ninth.

In the sixth inning, the Mavericks’ Rafael Lara doubled to center field off starter Justin Dowdy and scored on Dusty Hillman’s single to right field, narrowing the RiverHawks’ lead 3-1.

The same pair produced another run for the Mavericks in the eighth. After Lara hit a single and advanced to second on passed ball, Hillman, who went 4-for-4 with a walk, singled to left field off reliever Mark Dulkowski to drive in Lara to make it 3-2.

The Mavericks rallied in the ninth, adding two runs. That, though, was all Mid-Missouri could do.

The Mavericks wasted every other chance to score runs. In the fifth, after the bases were loaded with one out, Blake Blase and Damon Burkhart struck out.

Hillman led off the third with a single and advanced to second on Chad Sterberns’ sacrifice bunt. Hillman advanced to third on Bret Metheny’s deep sacrifice fly to center field, but Nick Saunders popped out to third base to end the inning.

In the fourth, RiverHawks starter Justin Dowdy walked two batters to start the inning. The Mavericks couldn’t score. Justin McMahan hit a grounder to third that forced out Burkhart at second, and Matt Oakes flied out to first. The inning ended when Lara flied out to left field.

Dowdy earned his fourth win, pitching six innings. The RiverHawks went up 3-0 in the fifth when Shaff Elkouri hit a two-run home run off starter John Picco.

Despite the loss, Gentile said he was pleased with Picco’s effort. Picco (0-2) was consistent for seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits.

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