Gibbons Shuts out Cougars
GENEVA, Ill.- The first two matchups of the series between the Kane County Cougars (27-9, 63-41) and the Cedar Rapids Kernels (21-15, 62-44) featured one team's starter tossing a complete game. Saturday's contest involved Sam Gibbons handcuffing the Cougars' offense as the right hander went the distance for a 7-0 victory at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
Little did the Cougars' know, one of their best chances to score against Gibbons (5-2) was in the first inning when Chuck Taylor reached on an error and Ildemaro Vargas singled. Gibbons worked a 6-4-3 groundball double play before getting Marty Herum to line out to end the inning.
After the first frame, Gibbons did not allow another hit until the sixth. The Cedar Rapids' right-hander received plenty of offensive support as the Kernels scored two runs on a Cougar error in the third. Brett Doe singled home another run in the fifth as Alex Real plated another pair with a base hit later in the inning. All five runs against Cougar starter Chris Oliver (2-2) were unearned, but he still suffered the loss.
After Myles Smith worked three perfect frames of relief work, Jose Martinez struggled in the ninth. Tanner English drove home Brian Navaretto with a double and Martinez later walked Doe with the bases loaded for a 7-0 Kernels' advantage.
Despite the drawn out ninth, Gibbons took the mound in the ninth and stranded a runner to complete his complete game shutout. The Australian native finished the evening with nine scoreless innings of four-hit baseball with one walk and nine strikeouts.
The Cougars and Kernels will wrap up the series on Sunday. Brad Keller (6-8, 2.44) will take the mound for the Cougars against the Kernels' left-hander Luke Westphal (1-2, 3.00). First pitch at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. For tickets call 630-232-8811 or visit kccougars.com.
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