Kane County took a 2-0 series lead over Lake County with a 6-0 shutout on Thursday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. The Cougars end the season at 58-17 at home.
Duane Underwood was the story for the first six inning as the 20-year-old Georgia native held the Captains hitless for six innings. He matched his career-high with eight punchouts and walked five. Lake County loaded the bases on three free passes in the fourth but a double play grounder and a good scoop by first baseman Jacob Rogers ended the inning. His fastball was clocked in the mid-90s and he threw just under 90 pitches in the outing.
Tyler Ihrig pitched the final three frames for his second playoff save. The Captains got a pair of singles in the 8th to break up the no-hitter.
Kane County got all the runs they would need in the third as Shawon Dunston led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a Mark Zagunis single. Yasiel Balaguert’s RBI single into right scored Dunston and Zagunis took third. A wild pitch scored Zagunis for a 2-0 lead. Cael Brockmeyer singled Balaguert to third, and after Chesney Young walked, Carols Penalver drew a free pass to force in an run.
Dunston created another run in the fourth with a leadoff walk and a steal of second. He then swiped third and scored on Jacob Rogers’ grounder to short that was thrown away.
Kane County made it 5-0 in the 6th as Dunston singled and scored on Zagunis’ double that was misplayed in left, allowing the speedy Dunston to circle the bases.
The Cougars had 11 hits, three off the bat of Zagunis, who’s hitting .435 in the playoffs.
Cougars Notes: Friday is a travel day as the two teams head to Eastlake, Ohio, to complete the best-of-five series. Daury Torrez (11-7, 2.74 ERA) gets the start on Saturday as the Cougars look to clinch the championship series. Kane County is 6-0 in the post season and ended the year at 58-17 at home.
No deals for Boise, Daytona or Kane County
The deadline to renew minor league contracts passed at midnight on Thursday and deals with Daytona, Kane County and Boise were not renewed. The Cubs and those affiliates have two weeks to work out a deal or the Cubs could find new homes for their lower levels of the minors during that time period. Kane County recently announced new upgrades to the Cubs’ specifications at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark so you could assume a deal should be announced soon.........According to a report in the Idaho Statesman, Boise Hawks general manager Todd Rahr said the Cubs are not renewing their deal due to lack of upgrades in the facilities at Memorial Stadium. Boise has been the Cubs short-season affiliate since 2001.........According to Sean Kernan of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the Cubs hadn’t renewed with Daytona, an affiliate since 1993. Daytona Cubs owner Andy Raburn said Thursday night he wasn’t sure if the Cubs had extended their contract or opted to pursue another minor league affiliate. Options are limited in the Florida State League as most of the facilities are spring training sites for big league teams and the club’s Advanced A team plays at those facilities. Only Brevard County and Daytona are not.......If the Cubs don’t renew with Boise or Daytona, they could find other teams in those leagues or chose to switch leagues. Other advance A leagues are the California and Carolina Leagues, and the New York-Penn is the other short-season league. The Cubs are also not bound to stay with a short-season league, and could opt to join another Rookie League—Appalachian League, Pioneer League or Gulf Coast League.
Cubs Notes: Former Cubs pitching prospect Ian Dickson and his Potomac Nationals teammates captured the Class A Carolina League title with a 5-1 clinching win over Myrtle Beach (Rangers). Dickson was traded by the Cubs in June of 2013 for Washington relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez. The 6-foot-5, right-hander went 5-9 with a 4.37 ERA for Potomac, splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen. The Cubs 35th round pick in 2011 was named Carolina Pitcher of the Week on Aug. 18.