The Kane County Cougars (29-29, 68-57) saw their season's longest losing streak come to an end Tuesday night, as Connor Grey used 96 pitches to face one over the opposing minimum. Meanwhile the Cougars halted the Cedar Rapids Kernels' (29-29, 68-60) five-game winning streak with a 9-1 win in the series opener Tuesday night.
The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 with the first few pitches of the ballgame as Yan Sanchez led off the bottom of the first with a triple and scored on a wild pitch.
Grey (2-1) already started his dominance retiring the first six Kernels he faced. Cedar Rapids grabbed their first of four hits in the third as Kennedy led off with a single, but on a hit-and-run was doubled off. Another base running mistake by Cedar Rapids helped Grey face the minimum through the first four innings as the Cougars outfield turned their second double play.
Already leading 3-0 the Cougars added more offense knocking Bryan Sammons (2-1) out of the ballgame in the fourth inning. After a pitching change brought in Patrick McGuff, Marcus Wilson singled home Alexis Olmeda before Eudy Ramos launched his first home run of the year over the right center field wall for a 7-0 Cougars' advantage.
Grey hit his only speed bump in the top of the fifth, allowing a solo home run to Lewin Diaz. After the lone run, Grey allowed just one hit over the next four innings, inducing a groundball double play in the seventh to limit the amount of batters. After striking out two through the first eight frames, the New York native fanned the first two hitters in the ninth before finishing the ballgame with a groundout to the first baseman Olmeda. Grey caught the assist from his corner infielder to finish the job.
It was Grey's longest outing of the year and the team's second nine-inning performance of the season. Cody Reed hurled a complete-game shutout against Quad Cities on May 18th.
The Cougars and Kernels will continue the series on Wednesday. Sam McWilliams (11-6, 2.86) will take the mound against Cedar Rapids' left-hander Tyler Watson (0-3, 6.06). First pitch at Northwestern Medicine Field is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.