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Cougars' Bats Explode in Opening Night Win

May 13, 2022 - Midwest League (MWL) News Release

GENEVA, Ill. - It was an Opening Night to remember as the Cougars (1-0) erupted for 20 runs on 15 hits to claim a 20-6 victory over the Cleburne Railroaders (0-1) in front of an Opening Night record 8,324 fans at Northwestern Medicine Field.

After Cleburne scored first with a two-run homer off the bat Chase Simpson in the top of the first inning, Kane County responded with a nine-run third inning. The rally got started with back-to-back singles by BJ Lopez and Galli Cribbs Jr. Then Cornelius Randolph smacked a two-run double to center field off Railroaders starter Kody Bullard (0-1).

Later in the inning, Jimmy Kerrigan knocked in two on a single into right field. Josh Rolette, Dylan Busby, Ernie De La Trinidad and Lopez would all go on to drive in runs in the inning. In total, the Cougars sent 14 men to the plate and scored nine runs on six hits in the third.

The offensive onslaught continued via the long ball in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, pinch-hitter Nick Anderson launched a solo home run to left to expand the Cougars lead to 10-2. After two walks and a single loaded the bases in the fifth, Sherman Johnson hit his first home run of the season with a grand slam over the right-field fence.

Along with the offense, the Cougars benefitted from a strong start by right-hander Ryan Tapani (1-0). Tapani worked five innings and allowed just two runs on five hits, while striking out seven Cleburne hitters. Ben Allison also provided solid work out of the bullpen, allowing just one run and two hits across two innings of work. The lone Railroaders run against Allison came on a solo homer by Hunter Wolfe in the seventh.

The Cougars continued to pile on in the bottom of the seventh. Rolette knocked in Sherman Johnson with an RBI single for his first hit of the night. De La Trinidad then added on with a two-run double to make it 17-3. Kane County would add two more runs in the frame on an RBI hit-by-pitch from Randolph and a bases-loaded walk from Johnson to push the lead to 19-3.

Cleburne would go on to add three runs in the top of the eighth before Kane County added one more in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI-groundout by Rolette. Each player in the Cougars lineup recorded at least one hit, with Lopez and Anderson both notching three hits.

The series against the Railroaders continues Saturday night. Right-hander Jalen Evans (0-0) will take the mound against the Cougars righty Vance Worley (0-0). First pitch from Northwestern Medicine Field is at 6:30 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. For tickets call 630-232-8811 or visit

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