ROCKFORD, ILL. — River City Rascals starter Josh Lowey was cruising along with a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday night at Road Ranger Stadium against the Rockford RiverHawks, when the floodgates opened, figuratively and literally.
First, the RiverHawks, who’d had only five hits all evening previously, strung together four smashes, including three extra-basehits, that produced five runs and a lead for the home team.
Then, one-pitch into the ninth inning an impending thunderstorm came, and forced the umpires to call the game after eight innings, giving Rockford a 5-2 win over River City.
The loss, which ended the Rascals’ four-game winning streak, and dropped River City to 10-7 on the season, was the fourth straight fantastic pitching performance by Lowey (0-2), that despite his brilliance, has not earned him a win.
In his last outing, back at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon last Thursday, the Rascals righthander went eight innings and allowed just two runs and five hits, but still suffered a 2-1 loss to Rockford.
In the the start before that, Lowey only gave up two runs in six innings, but got a no-decision in an eventual 6-5 loss to the Florence Freedom.
And in his 2011 debut back on May 21, Lowey gave up just three runs in five innings, of what became a 4-3 loss to the Normal CornBelters.
River City picked up both its runs in the top of the second, in typically small-ball fashion, when rightfielder Stephen Holdren led off with a walk, stole second, then came around to score when Rockford first baseman Jeremy Hamilton couldn’t field a smash hit by new Rascal designated hitter Nick Farnsworth.
Farnsworth took second on the play, then advanced to third following a hit by third baseman Jason Carr. Catcher Danny Sawyer then drove Farnsworth in with a basehit.
Unfortunately though, those were the only tallies River City could get.
And Lowey almost made them stick.
Until that faithful eighth inning, when Rockford’s Carlos Dominguez led off with double, then scored on a basehit by David Cooper.
The next batter, Freddy Parejo walked on four pitches, and that marked the end of Lowey’s night.
The Rascals turned to reliever Dustin Umberger, and he struck out the first batter he faced. But the next hitter, shortstop Jake Eigsti ripped a double to left that scored Cooper and Parejo and gave Rockford a 3-2 lead.
Things went from bad to worse when the next batter, designated hitter Matt Greener, stepped to plate, and launched his first homer of the season off Umberger, giving the RiverHawks their final 5-2 edge.
Rockford reliever Todd McGee picked up the win, after coming in for starter Alex Szymanski in the seventh. And closer Brett Durand got the save for the RiverHawks, who improved to —- on the season.
River City and Rockford will play the rubber-game of their three-game set, Thursday evening at Road Ranger Stadium. First pitch for the ballgame is set for 7:05 p.m.