Cougars erase early 3-0 hole to take series opener
The Kane County Cougars (33-31) belted three home runs in a 10-4 win over the Burlington Bees (36-29) on Tuesday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. Eddie Hernandez hit his first homer of the year, a grand slam, and Joey Rose debuted with a four-hit night.
The Cougars played a mistake-riddled first inning. They were charged for three errors and gave up three runs. Cougar starter Levi Kelly walked Kevin Maitan with one out. He scored from second base on a single by Nonie Williams. Williams raced to third on a throwing error by right fielder Eduardo Diaz. Cougar third baseman Blaze Alexander dropped a popup to put runners at first and third. Kelly's throwing error on a pickoff throw plated another run and a sac fly by Keinner Pina made it 3-0 Burlington.
The Cougars broke out in the third inning. Joey Rose's RBI single made it 3-1. Zack Shannon belted a three-run homer to give the Cougars their first lead, 4-3 in the fourth inning. Eddie Hernandez came to the plate in the fifth with the bases loaded. His third hit of the night was a bases-clearing long ball.
Burlington recorded a run in the seventh inning, but Joey Rose hammered his fourth hit of the night, a two-run homer in the eighth to put the Cougars up 10-4.
Levi Kelly (1-0) settled in after the rocky first inning. He retired the final 13 batters he faced and finished after five innings, allowed three runs (one earned) on one hit with a season-high nine strikeouts. Ryan Miller tossed three innings out of the pen. He allowed one run. Kenny Hernandez struck out the side in order in the ninth.
Cristopher Molina (3-4) suffered the loss. He allowed six runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings.
The Cougars are 2.5 games back of the Bees for the first-half Wild Card spot with six games to play until the All-Star Break.