LOVES PARK, Ill. -- First baseman Phil Hawke went 5-for-6 and finished a triple shy of the cycle as the Windy City ThunderBolts (1-4) pounded the Rockford RiverHawks (4-1), 13-4, at Road Ranger Stadium on Sunday night.
After dropping three games in Evansville and falling in dramatic fashion to Rockford in the first game of the brief two-game set on Saturday, Hawke and his teammates made sure of their first win of the season with nine runs in the final three innings against the RiverHawks bullpen.
The tone for victory was set in the very first inning by both the ThunderBolts' offense and defense.
In the top of the frame, shortstop Wes Long and Hawke knocked back-to-back two-out home runs off of Rockford starter Garrett Bauer (0-1), the first roundtrippers of the year for either player.
In the home half, right fielder Phil Grau made a sensational diving catch on the warning track, restricting a RiverHawks threat to only one tally.
Hawke struck again in the third, doubling home Amos Ramon and coming plateward himself on Josh Horn's RBI single to extend the lead to 4-1.
The big first baseman lined a single in the fifth inning, struck out in a four-run seventh against Josh Jarman, climaxed another four-run rally in the eighth with an RBI double off of Matt Borman, and added another single in the ninth against Matt DiBlasi.
The eighth inning two-bagger brought comedy as Hawke stampeded around second base with triple in mind, only to slam on the brakes when he saw that Long had been held at third base, barely sliding back to second underneath the tag.
Windy City starter Stephen Flake (1-0) earned the victory, fanning five batters allowing two runs while scattering six hits and five walks over five innings. Jason Lowey hurled three innings of two-run ball in relief, yielding to Desmond Jones for a perfect ninth.
Jason James and Matt Borman homered for Rockford in the losing cause. Borman began the game as the designated hitter before pitching the eighth inning. His home run came in the bottom of the eighth.
The ThunderBolts rest on Monday before beginning a six-game homestand on Tuesday, May 27. The homestand commences with a three-game series against the Evansville Otters; right-hander Ross Stout (0-1, 11.25) will receive the start in Tuesday's opener.