CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Avoiding another extra-inning game, the Kane County Cougars (11-5) grabbed a go-ahead run in the ninth inning to beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels (8-8) by a score of 4-3 on Saturday evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Fresh off Cedar Rapids tying the game in the eighth inning on Lewin Diaz's 2-out RBI double, the Cougars put the go-ahead run on the bases as Anfernee Grier drew a leadoff walk to Max Cordy (0-1) to begin the ninth. Marcus Wilson squared a bunt down the first base line to move Grier into scoring position with one out. Then the Cougars caught some luck. Kyle Smith came up to the plate and swung at one of Cordy's pitches. To the umpire's discretion, Smith did not make contact with the baseball as it popped in and out of catcher Ben Rortvet's mitt and rolled all the way toward the Cedar Rapids' dugout. Grier came racing in from second base to score the run and put the Cougars up 4-3.
Tommy Eveld (1-0) allowed a leadoff double to Mitchell Kranson to begin the ninth, but stranded the tying run in scoring position as he slammed the door in the final inning.
Cougar starter Ryan Atkinson did not earn his third consecutive win, but picked up his second quality outing with 6 innings of 2-run baseball, walking none and striking out 4. Austin Mason suffered a blown save when Diaz tied the game in the eighth.
Despite the Cougars never trailing in the contest, they struggled to add insurance runs as they stranded 10 runners on the bases, including nine from innings five through eight.
Luis Silverio drove in 2 runs going 2-for-3 on the evening, while Manny Jefferson collected 3 hits of his own and an RBI.