Kane County Wins 12th With Ninth Inning Dramatics
The Kane County Cougars must have liked the Oakland A's comeback win so much they decided to try it out for themselves on Wednesday. Trailing 2-1 in the ninth, the Cougars mounted a three-run rally to take a 4-2 lead. They would hang on to win 4-3, upping their record to 12-8 on the season.
Cougars infielder Frank Martinez had another multi-hit game and his last hit of the game was a big one, as he began the ninth with a double to center. He moved to third on a wild pitch and then came home as the tying run on Steve Kleen's RBI single. Slugger Jeff Baisley followed Kleen with his team-leading fifth homer of the season and the Cougars had the lead for the first time in the game.
Reliever Dan Fyvie would need all of the cushion, as he ran into some two-out trouble in the bottom of the ninth. Fyvie began the inning by sandwiching strikeouts around a single. He then allowed a walk and a run-scoring base-hit before settling down and retiring Rafael Mendez on a pop up to Kleen to end the game. The save was Fyvie's third of the season and the win snapped the Cougars' four-game losing streak.
Martinez upped his batting average to .324 with a 2-4 day at the plate. He scored the game-tying run and now has 15 runs scored in 19 games played. Martinez has a 936 OPS in his first 71 at-bats of the season and has been the biggest surprise of the young season thus far for Kane County. Baisley was expected to be the thunder in the middle of the Cougars order and he certainly has lived up to those expectations thus far. Although he is hitting only .236, he has a .500 slugging percentage and 17 RBI in 19 games. Kleen is now hitting .319 on the season with his 1-4 effort.
The story of this game could easily have been reliever Brad Davis if it weren't for the late-inning heroics. Davis' domination of Midwest League hitters is starting to border on comical at this point. The lefty worked two more perfect innings this season to extend his season-long scoreless streak to nine appearances and 18 innings. He earned his second win of the season. Davis has allowed only six hits and one walk this season and has struck out 16. He could be in-line for a promotion to A-Stockton if/when Ports reliever Marcus McBeth is promoted to AA-Midland.
Wednesday's game was yet another example of what has been a season of great pitching for Kane County. The team has a 3.58 ERA through 20 games, including one shutout. In 176 innings, the Cougars have struck out 161 and have walked only 61. They have also allowed only seven homeruns. The Cougars are second in the league in strikeouts.
Kane County's offense is off to a good start, as well. Generally, the Midwest League sees depressed offensive numbers during April and May due to the cold Midwest temperatures. The Cougars were downright frigid through the end of May on offense last season. This year, Kane County find themselves third in the league in team batting average at .259 and second in runs scored with 105. They are third in the league for fewest strikeouts and, going into Wednesday's game, were tied for fourth in the league in homeruns with 10.
Stockton Falls Just Short
The Stockton Ports had plenty of chances, but they weren't able to get the tying run across the board, as they fell to High Desert by a score of 4-3. Starter Ryan Webb, who went seven scoreless in his last outing, allowed three runs in 5.2 innings of work. He earned the loss and moved his record to 1-1. Webb's line could have been a lot worse, as he allowed 11 hits. However, only one of those hits went for extra-bases and Webb did not walk a batter, so he was able to keep the damage to a minimum. He has walked only four batters in 23 innings this season.
On offense, the Ports once again had plenty of base-runners, but they were unable to get enough big hits to win it. Stockton had nine hits and walked four times. Cliff Pennington had a two-RBI single with two-outs and Landon Powell hit a solo homerun for the Ports' other run. They stranded nine runners and hit into a double-play. Richie Robnett and Nate Espy each had three hits to pace the Ports. Powell's homer was his third of the season and his second in two days. He leads the team with a .321 batting average. Gregorio Petit added a double and his sixth stolen base of the season. He leads the team in stolen bases.
Offensively, the Ports continue to put up anemic numbers. As a team, Stockton is hitting .218 with only 12 homers and 64 runs scored in 19 games. Their on-base percentage is only .301. Despite those poor numbers, the Ports have managed to go 9-10 with the help of some good pitching. Stockton has a 4.06 ERA and they have struck out 145 in 164 innings while walking only 46. Webb leads the starting pitchers with a 1.96 ERA in four starts and Marcus McBeth is pacing the bullpen with a 0.00 ERA in 8.2 innings of work.
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