BURLINGTON, Iowa -- After two offense-laden games at the front half of the series, all it took Monday was a Cole Thompson RBI sacrifice fly in the second inning for the Kane County Cougars (23-21, 62-49) to secure a 1-0 victory over the host Burlington Bees (16-28, 47-66). The Cougars advance to 5-1 on the road trip, with a chance for their second straight series win on Tuesday night.
Facing losing righty Erik Manoah (5-8) for the third time this season, the Cougars pounced for their first run in the top of the second. Yan Sanchez began the frame with a triple, his first as a Cougar. And with one out, Thompson belted the sac-fly to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
It didn't take much to support McWilliams. In an efficient outing, McWilliams lasted five innings on as many hits with no runs allowed. He also struck out three with just one walk issued. His season ERA now stands at 2.56.
In strong bullpen work, the Cougars preserved the shutout effort. After two scoreless innings from righty Tyler Mark (5-3), southpaw Junior Garcia (2-0) was summoned with a man on first. Garcia committed a throwing error and back-to-back sacrifice bunts loaded the bases. Garcia was a ball away from walking in a run, but struck out three straight batters to miraculously evade trouble, leaving the bases loaded. And in the ninth, Garcia hung on to preserve the shutout, earning his third save.
All six outs recorded by Garcia were strikeouts. His ERA is now 0.63 as a reliever.