CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Kane County Cougars pounded out 18 hits and blasted a season-high 4 home runs en route to steamrolling the Cedar Rapids Kernels 15-1 on Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Jeimer Candelario got the Cougars (28-31) rolling in the top of the second with a solo homer.
In the third, Gioskar Amaya belted a leadoff homer to make it 2-0. A single and 2 walks filled the bases for Willson Contreras, and he doubled to bring home Albert Almora and Candelario and stake the Cougars to a 4-0 lead. Oliver Zapata delivered another 2-run double and scored on Marco Hernandez's hit to cap a 6-run burst.
Dan Vogelbach hit a solo homer in the fourth. In the fifth inning, Hernandez doubled home Zapata before Almora blasted a 3-run shot -- his first homer since joining the Cougars.
Cougars starter Michael Heesch (3-4) held the Kernels (37-23) to 1 run on 8 hits in 61⁄3 innings. Ian Dickson and Lendy Castillo combined to pitch scoreless, hitless relief the rest of the way.
In the ninth, Almora's sacrifice fly and Rock Shoulders' 2-run double capped the Cougars' scoring.
The Cougars and Kernels play Game 2 of their three-game series today at 2:05 p.m. Cougars right-hander Dillon Maples (0-1) starts against righty Hudson Boyd (1-3).