BURLINGTON, Iowa -- The Cougars returned to their winning ways Monday night, scoring 5 straight runs late in the game for an 8-3 victory over the Burlington Bees. The Cougars (42-22, 87-46) are just 1 shy of tying the franchise record for victories in a season.
Yasiel Balaguert provided big offense for the Cougars as he doubled in the first run and later connected on his first home run since returning from the disabled list. Jacob Rogers and Balaguert hit consecutive doubles as part of a 2-run second inning.
The Bees and Cougars went back and forth with 1-run innings, as Burlington tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth to deny Paul Blackburn of his 10th win. The Cougars' offense surged as Burlington starter Daniel Hurtado (2-3) stayed in the game for the seventh inning.
That's when Balaguert smashed his seventh homer of the year to put the Cougars back on top. Jeffrey Baez continued in similar fashion for his sixth home run. It was the fourth time the Cougars went back-to-back this season.
Rogers drove in 2 more runs an inning later with a bases-loaded single as the Cougars completed their scoring with a 3-run eighth.
James Pugliese (4-0) suffered a blown save but picked up the win with 1 inning of work. Jasvir Rakkar earned a hold as he stretched his scoreless innings streak to 17. Francisco Carrillo finished off a perfect ninth.
The Cougars look to take the rubber game from the Bees on Tuesday with Duane Underwood (5-4, 2.55) on the mound against Burlington's Alex Blackford (1-3, 2.51). First pitch from Community Field is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.