The Cougars had an up and down week, as they swept Quad Cities in a three-game series and got swept by Cedar Rapids in a four-game set. They were also no-hit by the Kernels for the first time in seven years.
Kane County also had to deal with a couple of injuries this week. Chris Mederos, who has been one of the Cougars' best starters this year, had to come out of the game on Sunday after two hitters, and he was holding his shoulder. In the same game, outfielder Myrio Richard was hit by a pitch on the left hand. That is the same hand that has a sore wrist. A.J. Huttenlocker also went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder. One piece of good news was that Opening Day starter Jonathan Joseph came off of the disabled list.
The Cougars had Monday off after a six game road trip. On Tuesday they began a home series against the Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis). In the first game the Cougars would win 10-5. Mederos pitched well. He went six innings, giving up six hits and four runs. Only one of the runs were earned as the Cougars continue to be hurt by their lack of defense. Conner Crumbliss and Tyreace House had three hits. Those two also scored seven runs and had four runs batted in. House reached base all five times he came to the plate, as he also had a walk and reached on an error.
In the second game of the series, the Cougars would win with three runs in each of the eighth and the ninth innings to win, 7-6. Justin Marks pitched ok. He got into the fifth inning, giving up two hits and four runs. His main problem was he gave up two, two-run homers and he also walked five. In all the Cougars would give up four homers in the game, which would account for all of the Bandits runs. The Cougars scored once in the sixth with a Leonardo Gil run-scoring single. In the eighth inning, Rashun Dixon singled home Gil. Then Michael Gilmartin took a bases-loaded walk to score Anthony Aliotti and Max Stassi would score on a wild pitch. The ninth inning would result in a walk-off win for the Cougars. Gil grounded out to second to score House and Aliotti doubled home Kent Walton before Stassi singled home Aliotti to win the game. Before the sixth inning the Cougars did not have a hit and they only had three walks and six strikeouts.
The Cougars would sweep the Bandits with a win in the series finale, with a 4-2 score. Robert Gilliam pitched well. He would give up two runs in the first and then hold the Bandits to five hits over the next five innings. In all he gave up seven hits and struck out six. Ryan Quigley and Jose Guzman also pitched well in relief. Franklin Hernandez would hit a two-run homer in the sixth to give the Cougars the lead. Dixon had a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a run-scoring ground out in the eighth. Crumbliss walked three times and Gilmartin had three hits, including a triple.
Now the not so fun stuff. In the first game in Cedar Rapids against the Kernels, the Cougars would get no-hit. It would be the first time they would be no-hit since 2003. It would also be the first time in the Midwest League that two no-hitters would be thrown in the same day since 1987 (Peoria also threw a no-hitter on Friday). Fabio Martinez, Kyle Hurst and Mike Kenney combined on the no-hitter for the Kernals. Martinez would strike out nine Cougars in five innings. Crumbliss and House both drew two walks apiece, with Crumbliss also stealing two bases. Ian Krol had his best outing as a Cougar. He went six innings, giving up four hits and no runs. He struck out five and did not walk anyone. Joseph, who had just come off of the disabled list, gave up three runs in one and one thirds innings.
The next night the teams combined for 19 runs and 20 hits, but the Cougars would lose, 11-8. The Cougars had three errors in the game. Kane County scored eight runs, four in the first and four in the ninth. In the first, Leonardo Gil hit a three run homer, after Aliotti singled home Crumbliss with the first run of the game. In the ninth, the Cougars batted around. Hernandez doubled home Aliotti, Juan Nunez singled home Gil, Chris Affinito hit a sacrifice fly to score Hernandez and Richard would hit a sacrifice fly to score Nunez. Dan Straily just did not have much in the game. He lasted into the third inning, giving up seven hits and nine runs. He gave up two homers and hit a batter. Connor Hoehn pitched very well in relief. He went three and one thirds innings, giving up one hit and striking out three. Dixon had two walks, but Gilmartin struck out three times.
In game three of the series, the Cougars scored three runs, all in the eighth inning, and lost 6-3. Crumbliss had three hits and Dixon had two walks and a single. The Cougars would hit into two inning-ending double plays in the game. This is the game that Mederos got hurt and the bullpen really had to step up. Every pitcher gave up runs, but Quigley and Bo Schultz both ate up three innings apiece.
Finally the Cougars got out of Cedar Rapids. In the last game of the series they would lose 8-1. The only highlight offensively for the Cougars was a Dixon homer to lead off the seventh. Justin Marks had his best start of the year. He went six innings, giving up eight hits and six runs. Five of those runs were earned. He also gave up two homeruns. The homers are really what killed Marks, as they accounted for four of the runs. Also his only walk and a hit by pitch would come back to haunt him. Hector Garcia did not pitch well. This would be the second game in a row he gave up runs in relief. He gave up five hits and two runs in an inning and two thirds.
Conner Crumbliss leads the league in walks and is second in on-base percentage. The Cougars are among the worst defensive teams in the league. They are also tied for second in earned runs allowed in the league.
Next up for the Cougars they continue their road trip. This time they get to go to Burlington, Iowa, to face the Bees (Kansas City) for three games. After that they finally come home for a three game homestand against the Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs).
About the Author
David Malamut has been covering the Cougars since 1998, with his own website, (http://malamut.net). He has also wrtiten a book about the Cougars, "Baseball In Kane County Cougars" (Arcadia/2005). For daily updates on the Cougars, go to his website (http://malamut.net) or follow him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/davidmalamut) for in game news and notes.
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