Cougars' Win Streak Snapped at Six
GENEVA, Ill.- In very unfamiliar territory, the Kane County Cougars (32-26, 68-60) coughed up a lead late in the game and fell to Peoria (33-25, 72-56) 4-3 from Northwestern Medicine Field Thursday night. Along with Beloit's loss, the Cougars' lead for the wild card race in the Western Division dwindles down to a half game. With a four-game series coming up in Cedar Rapids, the Cougars sit three-and-a-half games back of the Kernels for the Western Division lead.
The Cougars were first to score in the game for the seventh consecutive time. Eudy Ramos extended his RBI streak to six games with a run scoring triple to plate Tra Holmes before Terrence Connelly started his big day with an RBI single.
A 2-0 lead seemed plenty for Cougar starter Lane Ratliff, who didn't cough up a run to Peoria until the fourth inning.
Connelly made sure the Cougars' grabbed that run back immediately when he singled home Holmes with two outs in the fourth.
Ratliff continued to cruise, securing his sixth consecutive quality start. The lefty worked seven innings of one-run baseball with just one walk and four strikeouts. His counterpart Jake Dahlberg (4-1) also tossed a quality start and was on the hook for the tough luck loss until Peoria sparked a rally in the eighth.
Tyler Keele found trouble with a leadoff single to Rayder Ascanio, but quickly found himself in a better groove. After striking out Nolan Gorman, Ascanio was caught stealing on the bases during Luken Baker's at-bat for the second out with nobody on. But Baker drew the first of two-out walks before Zach Kirtley was put on. Keele was then pulled for Luis Castillo. Julio Rodriguez drove in four runs the night before, but came up to the plate in the eighth hitless through his first three at bats. Rodriguez then belted a three-run homer to give Peoria its first lead of the series and the Cougars' first deficit of the homestand.
Yan Sanchez led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, but the Cougars stranded the tying run in scoring position to end the game.
The Cougars begin a pivotal four-game series against the first-place Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday evening. Left-hander Franklyn Soriano (1-2, 2.20) will take the mound against former Cougar Jhoan Duran (6-5, 4.20) from Veterans Memorial Stadium. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. Coverage on AM 1280 WBIG and kccougars.com begins at 6:20 p.m.
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