Cougars Take Wild Card Lead with Sweep
PEORIA, Ill.- Despite a 3-4 road trip, the Kane County Cougars (36-30, 71-64) find themselves in the driver's seat for the Western Division Wild Card race after sweeping the Peoria Chiefs (37-29, 76-60) with a 10-3 win from Dozer Park Friday night. Beloit's loss to Wisconsin puts the Cougars one game ahead of the Snappers in the wild card race and one-and-a-half games above the Timber Rattlers. With Wisconsin coming to town on Saturday, the Cougars magic number is three.
The offense arrived immediately for the Cougars, as Jancarlos Cintron, Yan Sanchez and Ryan Grotjohn all drove in runs to jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Alvaro Seijas (5-8) found more trouble in the second inning as he served up a leadoff double to Jose Herrera. Ryan Dobson then blasted his first professional home run on a 1-0 pitch from Seijas, sending it over the left field fence. It was Dobson's first home run of his career in his 104th minor league game. Cintron increased it to a 6-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.
Jayson McKinley (9-4) then stole the show with his fifth quality start of 2018. The Houston native set a career-high with 10 strikeouts, complementing with seven shutout innings. McKinley didn't allow a base hit until the fourth inning. The Cougars' rotation combined for 25 strikeouts in the series against Peoria.
Tim Susnara sparked the offense again with an RBI single in the seventh inning. Grotjohn followed with an RBI double, before Jose Herrera doubled home two more runs for a 10-0 lead.
Despite a shaky bullpen, the Cougars still finished off the game. Abraham Almonte loaded the bases in the eighth inning, but coughed up no runs. Juan Torres walked four batters in the ninth as Peoria scored their first three earned runs of the series.
The Cougars finish off the regular season with three games against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Left-hander Scott Sunitch (2-0, 1.69) toes the rubber against the Cougars' right-hander Cole Bartlett (5-3, 3.93). Saturday's game begins with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch from Northwestern Medicine Field. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. For tickets call 630-232-8811 or visit kccougars.com.
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Midwest League Stories from August 31, 2018
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