The Kane County bullpen retired 19 of the last 20 Quad Cities hitters as the Cougars (31-21, 76-45) guaranteed a series victory over the River Bandits (25-26, 60-60) at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Wednesday.
Both teams combined for seven runs total in the third inning, but each bullpen buckled down in the final six innings.
After the River Bandits took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third, the Cougars rallied to put up a four spot in the bottom of the frame. Quad Cities' starter Andrew Thurman (5-8) walked two batters around a pair of strikeouts, but couldn't escape the inning as Victor Caratini singled home the tying run. Thurman's control continued to struggle as he walked Jacob Rogers to load the bases and forced in a run by walking Jeimer Candelario. A pitching change took Thurman out and brought in Keegan Yuhl who surrendered a two-run single to Jeffrey Baez for a 6-3 Cougars' lead.
Ben Carhart's fifth home run opened the scoring as Carhart went opposite field for a 2-0 Cougars' lead.
Michael Heesch (3-1) came in relief for Paul Blackburn and tossed three perfect frames through the fifth and seventh innings. Francisco Carrillo threw two scoreless innings to finish the game for his second save.
The finale of the season series between the Cougars and River Bandits is Thursday. Duane Under (5-4, 2.64) will make the start for the Cougars against Quad Cities' Tory Scribner (0-1, 5.40). First pitch at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.