Only able to manage 4 hits, the Kane County Cougars were shut out for the first time since June 29 in a 7-0 loss to the Beloit Snappers in front of 9,375 on Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Beloit (36-55, 6-15) grabbed the lead in the top of the third as Justin Higley opened the inning with a double to right. After B.J. Boyd walked, Branden Cogswell flied to left, but it was Chih-Fang Pan's groundout to first that advanced the runners.
With two outs, Tyler Skulina (4-5) was nearly out of the inning, but he tossed a wild pitch that brought Higley to the plate, making it 1-0.
In the fifth, the Snappers added to their advantage. Cogswell walked with one out but was forced out at second on a grounder off the bat of Pan. Pan raced around to score all the way from first when Matt Chapman narrowly missed a home run by tripling off the top of the fence in left field.
Two more runs came across for the Snappers in the seventh inning. Boyd singled with one out against reliever Gerardo Concepcion while an error by Carlos Penalver put two men on with one away. Ryan Mathews was called off the bench for Beloit, and he delivered a double into right-center to drive home both baserunners, putting the Snappers up by 4. Phil Pohl cracked an RBI double in the eighth to bring home BA Vollmuth. Jose Arias coughed up a pair of runs in the ninth to finish the scoring.
It was the pitching for the Snappers that ended up being too much for the Cougars (60-31, 15-6). Jeimer Candelario and Kyle Schwarber each had 2 hits against starter Matt Stalcup (2-3), who worked through 5⅓ innings. Brendan McCurry and Bobby Wahl finished off the shutout for the Snappers.
The Cougars and Snappers will play games three and four of this series as a doubleheader Sunday. Both games will consist of seven innings. The twin bill is part of a makeup for a rainout in Beloit on June 30.
Game 1 will feature a pitching matchup of Jen-Ho Tseng (3-0, 2.93) for the Cougars and Beloit's Hunter Adkins (0-2, 4.50). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. The second game will begin approximately 40 minutes after game one's end.