Struggling Bees drop weekend series to Beloit

Rain on Sunday robbed the Burlington Bees of a chance to split their four-game series with the Beloit Snappers over the weekend. After winning 9-2 on Thursday, the Bees dropped Friday's and Saturday's contests before being rained out on Sunday.

Low-A: Burlington Bees - Weekend report

Friday: Beloit 6, Burlington 5 (10 innings)
Saturday: Beloit 7, Burlington 5
Sunday: Postponed (Rain)

It was another weekend to forget for the Bees, who dropped a pair to Beloit before being rained out in the series finale on Sunday. This marks the second straight winless weekend for Burlington after losing to Clinton on both Friday and Saturday last week.

The club actually played tough on Friday night, tying the game in both the seventh and eighth innings before falling victim to a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. Shortstop J.D. Alfaro put the Bees on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with his first home run of the season, a solo shot to center field. Later in the frame, Nick Francis walked, and Sean McCauley knocked him in with an RBI double, knotting the game at 2-2.

Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Burlington added another run with an RBI single by Francis, and Alfaro tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. After Beloit responded with a run in their half of the frame, McCauley once again evened the score with another RBI double, his second of the game. Both McCauley and Alfaro finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while the red hot Francis finished 1-for-3. First baseman Eric Hosmer ended an 0-for-16 slump with a single in the sixth inning, and he finished the game 1-for-5.

Luis Cota made his second start of the year, looking to build upon his solid 2009 debut in which he struck out eight batters over five innings while surrendering just three hits and one run. Though his outing wasn't quite that good, he did pitch fairly well, surrendering three runs on eight hits and a walk over five innings of work.

Cota handed the game off in the sixth to Carson Bryant, who surrendered one run in two innings pitched before yielding to James Thompson. The hard throwing Thompson fanned five batters in his 2.2 innings of work, and he was cruising when he made his only mistake with two outs in the tenth. It was a costly mistake, however, as Snappers second baseman Ramon Santana ended the game with a homer to center. The loss was Thompson's first of the season.

On Saturday, the Bees got in a hole early as starting pitcher Blaine Hardy surrendered four runs in the first inning. Making his first start of the season, Hardy ultimately allowed five earned runs on 11 hits in four innings of work, bloating what had been a perfect ERA to 4.50 while picking up his first loss of the year.

With their work cut out for them, the Bees offense put together a rally in the third inning, scoring two runs on three singles, a walk, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. The following frame, Burlington added another tally when Jose Bonilla reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Wilson Tucker. Bonilla chipped in an RBI single of his own in the sixth, and he went 1-for-4 on the game.

In the eighth inning, McCauley cracked yet another RBI double – his third of the weekend – capping a 1-for-3 game. Both Francis and Tucker finished 2-for-4, while Kyle Martin was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Leadoff hitter Patrick Norris was also 1-for-3 with a walk. Hosmer did not play on Saturday, as David Wood – fresh off the 7-day disabled list – made his season debut, going 0-for-3.

After Sunday's rainout, the Bees (2-7) returned home to Burlington, where they have an off-day on Monday before squaring up with Kane County for another four-game series. The Bees dropped two of three to the Cougars last week. Rainouts have altered Burlington's rotation schedule, but it appears that Zach Peterson is likely to be on the hill when the Bees next play on Tuesday night. Peterson last pitched on April 14, when he shut out the Cougars over 5.2 innings, surrendering just four hits and a walk while striking out three.

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