CRESTWOOD, Ill. -- Stephen Flake tossed his first career shutout, leading the Windy City ThunderBolts (58-36) to a 7-0 victory over the Rockford RiverHawks (48-46).
With Southern Illinois falling at Gateway, 7-4, Windy City bolted atop the Miners for first place in the West Division by a game. There are two games remaining in the regular season. If the ThunderBolts win and the Miners lose on Tuesday, Windy City clinches the West Division title.
Flake (10-3) allowed only four base hits and a walk to the RiverHawks, setting down the final 11 batters that he faced. The Georgia native struck out six batters in the game, his second complete game of the season.
It took all of two batters into the first inning for the ThunderBolts to provide the necessary offense for Flake. Gilberto Mejia singled off of Rockford starter Peden Rucker, took second on a fielding error by centerfielder Carlos Rivera, and scored on Scott Billak's RBI single.
Rucker (3-3) suffered the loss, allowing home runs to Danny Sawyer and Mike Coles over three innings.
Reliever Mathew Wilson worked the final five innings for the RiverHawks, giving up an RBI single to Phil Hawke in the seventh and a two-run homer to Mike Sullivan in the eighth.
Having reduced their magic number to 2, the ThunderBolts play the penultimate game of the regular season against Rockford at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night. Left-hander Matt Jernstad (0-0, 4.50) is expected to start for Windy City.