Live From Kane County: Cougars Flat In Loss

GENEVA - The Kane County Cougars are in the thick of the playoff race and every game they play is important. Sunday's game versus Peoria was more important than most, as the Chiefs are ahead of the Cougars in the hunt for the wild card. Unfortunately, Kane County fell flat versus Peoria. Matt Bailey has the details.

The Kane County Cougars struggled to put much together Sunday afternoon as they combined for four hits on the day – on of them a ninth inning two-out, two-run home run by 1B Greg Dowling – while losing 5-2 to the Peoria Chiefs. The loss pushes the team 3.5 games behind the Chiefs for the wild card spot in the second half of the season.

Cougars manager Aaron Nieckula has been upset with the team's inability to score runs as of late.

"We haven't been coming up with hits and that's a credit to their (Chiefs) pitching staff," Nieckula said.

"It's a game of adjustments and we need to start making some."

Robert Hernandez, who was just 4-8 on the season coming into Sunday's game, baffled the Cougars hitters by allowing only one hit over five innings of work to earn the victory. Cougars pitcher Henry Rodriguez (5-7) had a quality outing, going 6.2 innings while allowing three runs. However, he earned the loss.

The Chiefs struck first in the top of the first when James Adduci, who reaching earlier on a fielder's choice, scored from third base on a single from Blake Lalli. After giving up the run in the first inning, Hernandez settled down and allowed very few scoring threats for the next few innings.

The Chiefs would add another run in the top of the fifth inning when with runners on first and second, Leon Johnson laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. A fielder's choice that was bobbled by Cougars 2B Larry Cobb allowed Ryne Malone to score the second run of the game.

The Chiefs would add three more insurance runs scoring once in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to boost their total to five runs on the day. With two outs in the ninth, Dowling hit his 12th bomb of the season to put the tally at 5-2 in favor of the Chiefs.

Malone and Derek Schermerhorn both had multi-hit games for the Chiefs with two hits apiece. Darwin Barney finished with two RBIs for the Chiefs.

CF Jermaine Mitchell was the only Cougar with a multi-hit game as he finished with two singles on the day. The Cougars struck out 11 times on the day.

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