GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Kane County Cougars stranded seven runners on base in a 3-1 loss to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Sunday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium.
With the loss the Cougars (22-39, 53-74) are officially eliminated from playoff contention with eight games to go in the 2013 regular season.
The Cougars stranded runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Oliver Zapata was left at third in the fifth inning. Willson Contreras was stranded at third with two outs in the sixth after driving home the Cougars' only run of the game with a double. Carlos Escobar lined a leadoff double in the seventh but was stranded on third. In the eighth, Gioskar Amaya and Contreras were left at second and third when Marco Hernandez lined out to the third baseman.
In his first pro start, Rodolfo Fernandez (W, 4-3) tossed six innings for the Timber Rattlers (28-34, 57-70) and allowed just one run while striking out six and walking none. Lefty Michael Strong (S, 1) danced around trouble in his three shutout inning out of the bullpen while striking out five.
Starling Peralta (L, 2-2) faced the minimum through the first two innings in his fifth start for the Cougars and gave up just three runs, two of which were earned while striking out four and walking three over 5.1 innings. Lefty Al Yevoli allowed one inherited runner to score but was not charged with a run over 2.2 innings while giving up just one hit and striking out three.
Alfredo Rodriguez smacked an RBI single in the third inning to give the Timber Rattlers the early lead. In the fourth, Parker Berberet drove home a run with a fielder's choice groundout. Wisconsin added an insurance tally in the sixth on a Max Walla RBI double.
The Cougars will continue their final road trip of the year, with game three of a four-game series on Monday night at 7:05 in Wisconsin against the Timber Rattlers. Righty James Pugliese (0-1) will start for the Cougars. Tyler Wagner (9-8) will throw for the Timber Rattlers. The Cougars will return home to take on the Chiefs for the final series of the year on August 31st at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, please call (630) 232-8811 or visit www.kccougars.com.