Hawksworth On The Mound Monday

Blake Hawksworth was ranked by Baseball America as recently as 2004 as the Cardinals #3 Prospect. Once projected as a Major League top of the rotation starter, Hawksworth has missed most of the last two seasons due to injuries.

The longest losing streak in franchise history came to an end on Sunday night, as the Springfield Cardinals came from behind to defeat the Wichita Wranglers by a score of 6-4 at Hammons Field. With the victory, the Cards improve to 2-8 in the second half, ending a seven-game slide.

Trailing 3-0 in the fourth, Springfield rallied for three runs against Wichita starter Seung Jun Song. Travis Hanson walked to get things started, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Terry Evans then singled, moving Hanson to third. Nick Stavinoha followed with a sac fly, putting the Cards on the board with their first run, at 3-1. Cody Haerther then doubled, bringing home Evans to make it 3-2. Jarrett Hoffpauir capped the inning with a double off the wall in left field, plating Haerther to tie the game at 3-3.

The Redbirds grabbed the lead for good, scoring twice in the fifth. Song (4-9) walked Kevin Estrada to open the inning, who then moved to third on Gabe Johnson's single. A one-out RBI single from Terry Evans scored Estrada, giving Springfield a 4-3 lead. Johnson would later score from third on a sac fly from Cody Haerther, making it 5-3.

The Cards got their last run of the game in the seventh against reliever Derrick DePriest. Evans doubled with one out, over the head of right fielder Billy Butler. He scored one batter later on Stavinoha's RBI single, putting the Cards up 6-3. Evans and Stavinoha each finished with three hits apiece.

After Cards' starter Jordan Pals gave up three early runs, he settled in nicely, limiting the Wranglers to just one base-runner over Pals' final four innings. Pals (6-3) went seven innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits. He struck out five without surrendering a walk on the night.

Carmen Cali gave up a run in the eighth, as Billy Butler's single brought home Alex Gordon, making it 6-4. Cory Doyne came out of the Cards bullpen and squelched the Wichita rally in the eighth, fanning Adam Keim to end the inning. Doyne gave up a one-out double to pinch-hitter Matt Tupman in the ninth, but recorded his third save of the year, by getting the final two hitters. Doyne punched out Angel Sanchez looking for the second out, then watched center fielder Shaun Boyd catch Chris Lubanski's fly ball at the track in center field to end the game.

Springfield improves to 41-37 overall with the victory. Monday night will be an exciting night, as Blake Hawksworth (0-0) makes his Hammons Field debut for the Cardinals. The right-hander, making just his second appearance at the Double-A level, will be opposed by Kansas City Royals' right-hander Zack Greinke (2-1).

Before a series of injuries that caused, Hawksworth to miss most of the last two seasons, Blake was once considered one of the Cardinals Top Pitching Prospects, ranked by Baseball America as recently as 2004 as the Cards #3 prospect.

The Birdhouse ranked Hawksworth as the Cardinals' #28 prospect in their 2006 Top 40 Prospects Rankings.

The Cardinals drafted Blake in the 28th round out of Bellevue (Washington) Community College and signed him in May of 2002.

At the time he was signed, Hawksworth was projected as a potential Major League top of the rotation starter. The 6'3" 195 pound right-hander, had a fastball that set in the 90s and one of the best changeups in the organization.

Monday night will also be the first-ever Dollar Hot Dog Night, thanks to Hunter Hot Dogs and Delaware North. Game time is 7:10pm and gates to Hammons Field open at 6:10pm. Great tickets are available by calling (417) 863-2143 or online at www.springfieldcardinals.com.

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