It was another heartbreaking loss for the Mid-Missouri Mavericks on Sunday, but they showed some fight in front of Bill Lee, the Frontier League Commissioner.
The Mavericks lost to the Rockford RiverHawks 5-4 in 11 innings at Taylor Stadium after tying the game twice. The RiverHawks swept the three-game series and improved to 23-13. The Mavericks dropped to 5-31.
“Right now, obviously, the way the team has been playing and the record of the team is being reflected by the attendance and some of the sentiments toward the club,” Lee said before the game.
Lee, who made his first trip of the season to Columbia this weekend, said he hopes the Mavericks players pull out of their slump.
In the top of 11th, with two out, the RiverHawks’ Shaff Elkouri hit a single to right field off Mavericks reliever Greg Russell (1-2) to drive in Kevin Ciarrachi with the winning run.
In the bottom of the inning, the Mavericks had a chance to tie and even win the game.
Brent Metheny led off with a double, and Nick Saunders followed with a single. After Blake Blasé grounded out to the pitcher, Chad Sterbens walked to load the bases. But the RiverHawks’ Mark Dulkowski struck out Justin McMahan and Matt Oakes to seal the victory. The RiverHawks used six pitchers and Dulkowski earned his first win of the season.
The Mavericks’ rally started in the bottom of the ninth. After Rafael Lara advanced to second on an error, Dusty Hillman hit a one-out, two-run home run off the RiverHawks’ fourth reliever, Josh Latimer, to tie it at 2.
“We fought hard all night, and that’s just what you got to do every night,” Hillman said. “We are going to continue doing that.”
In the 10th, Rich Austin hit a tie-breaking double deep into center field to drive in Dan Floyd. Then, Aaron McEahran scored on Ryan Larson’s grounder to second base for a 4-2 lead.
In the bottom of 10th, the Mavericks rallied again when Lara’s double to left-center field drove in Hillman to tie at 4. Earlier, Saunders doubled and scored on Sterbens’ single.
In the 10th, Mavericks manager Jim Gentile was ejected after arguing with home plate umpire Ken Fox.
When Mavericks pitcher Justin Craker’s pitch grazed Floyd’s shoulder, Fox initially called a ball. After RiverHawks manager Bob Koopman argued that the pitch hit Floyd, Fox conferred with second base umpire Bob Gaddy. When Fox changed the call to hit by pitch, Gentile protested.
Mavericks starter Jason Wiedmeyer pitched eight strong innings, giving up two runs and eight hits.
OTTERS: Missouri catcher Brad Flanders signed with the Evansville Otters on Friday. Flanders had a .246 batting average, seven home runs, and 37 RBIs for the Tigers in 2004.