GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- The Kane County Cougars stranded seven runners in a 3-1 loss to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Sunday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium.
With the loss, the Cougars (22-39, 53-74) were officially eliminated from playoff contention with eight games to go.
The Cougars stranded runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Oliver Zapata was left at third in the fifth. Willson Contreras was stranded at third with two outs in the sixth after driving home the Cougars' only run with a double. Carlos Escobar lined a leadoff double in the seventh but was stranded at third. In the eighth, Gioskar Amaya and Contreras were left at second and third when Marco Hernandez lined out.
In his first professional start, Rodolfo Fernandez tossed 6 innings for the Timber Rattlers (28-34, 57-70) and allowed 1 with 6 strikeouts and no walks. Left-handed reliever Michael Strong earned the save with 3 shutout innings.
Cougars starter Starling Peralta took the loss, allowing 3 runs, 2 earned with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks in 51⁄3 innings.
Lefty reliever Al Yevoli did not allow a run over 22⁄3 innings while giving up 1 hit with 3 strikeouts.
The Timber Rattlers' Alfredo Rodriguez had an RBI single in the third. In the fourth, Parker Berberet drove home a run with a fielder's choice groundout.
The Cougars continue their final road trip of the season today in Game 3 of their four-game series today at 7:05 against the Timber Rattlers. Cougars right-hander James Pugliese (0-1) is scheduled to start against Tyler Wagner (9-8).