Cougars squeezed in 14th inning:
PEORIA -- After a bevy of runs early, neither team scored a run for 9 consecutive innings.
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Then the Peoria Chiefs finally broke through in the bottom of the 14th, knocking off the Kane County Cougars 9-8 on Thursday night at Dozer Park.
Gerwuins Velazco led off the 14th with a triple against Justin Amlung (3-2) and was still at third with one out when the squeeze play was called with Alex Mejia at the plate. Mejia's bunt bounced near the first base side of the mound as Amlung fielded and flipped home just late as Velazco slid passed Willson Contreras for the winning run.
All 8 runs for the Cougars (20-24) came in the first three innings. Jeimer Candelario put the Cougars on top with a two-run double in the top of the first to score Pin-Chieh Chen and Dan Vogelbach. Peoria (23-21) grabbed the advantage with four in the bottom of the first off Dillon Maples, but the Cougars rebounded quickly in the second.
Chen reached on an error and scored on a Vogelbach single. Candelario put the Cougars back in front with a two-run knock to draw home Albert Almora and Vogelbach. Chen added to the Cougars' lead in the third with a two-run single before Almora's run-scoring hit put the Cougars up by four.
Maples couldn't hang on to the cushion as the Chiefs picked up four in the bottom of the fourth. Three of the runs were unearned after errors by Maples and Contreras. From that point, neither club could push home a run and the two teams combined to strike out 40 times, 20 on each side.
Lendy Castillo punched out nine in his 5.1 scoreless innings of relief. Jeff Antigua also kept the Chiefs off the board while five Peoria relieves cooled off the Cougars' offense including Chris Thomas (2-0), who recroded the final six outs.
The Cougars and Chiefs finish their three-game series on Friday night at Dozer Park with a 6:30 first pitch. Right-hander Pierce Johnson (2-3) starts for the Cougars against fellow righty Tyrell Jenkins (2-4). For tickets, please call (630) 232-8811 or visit www.kccougars.com.