CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Pierce Johnson threw 6 shutout innings, and the Kane County Cougars broke a scoreless tie in the seventh en route to a 4-0 victory over the the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Johnson (2-3) allowed 6 hits for the Cougars (20-20) and avoided early trouble by striking out a career-high nine and walking one. Johnson stranded runners in scoring position in the first four innings. His toughest jam came in the fourth when the Kernels (28-13) loaded the bases on 3 straight singles to open the inning. But Johnson retired the side on a popout, strikeout and forceout. He then set down the next nine batters in order.
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The Cougars were stifled early by starter Jose Berrios (3-1), who worked 7 innings, allowing 7 hits and 2 runs without a walk with 5 strikeouts. In the seventh with two outs, the Cougars' Gioskar Amaya was hit by a pitch and stole second. Oliver Zapata beat out an infield single as Amaya scored the first run of the game. Pin-Chieh Chen doubled, and Zapata scored on a throwing error.
Rock Shoulders hit a solo home run in the eighth and Zapata hit a solo shot in the ninth.
The Cougars' Justin Amlung struck out three in 2 hitless innings out of the bullpen and Jeff Antigua worked a scoreless ninth with 2 strikeouts. Cougars pitchers combined to fan a season-high 14 batters.