Geneva, Illinois- The Kane County Cougars (81-58, 46-24) concluded the regular season with a 5-4 triumph over the Burlington Bees (66-74, 27-43) to clinch the second half Western Division title on Monday afternoon at Northwestern Medicine Field. The Cougars edged out the Clinton LumberKings by one game in the standings.
In the bottom of the first, Zack Shannon collected a sacrifice fly to push the Cougars in front 1-0. In the top of the second, Burlington seized its first lead on Justin Jones' two-run homer off the foul pole in right. The Cougars played long ball in the bottom of the fourth inning when Blaze Alexander unleashed a solo homer to left center. Later in the inning, the Cougars re-took the lead with a David Garza RBI double.
A fourth lead change occurred in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Adrian Rondon hit a ground ball to short and Blaze Alexander committed a throwing error to allow the tying run to score. The next batter, Rayneldy Rosario singled to left field to give the Bees a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Alexander re-tied the game with a sacrifice fly. In the bottom of the seventh, Buddy Kennedy put the Cougars ahead for good with an RBI triple.
Yaramil Hiraldo (2-1) stranded runners at second and third in the ninth to lockdown the win. He tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief out of the bullpen. Luis Alvarado (4-9) allowed the tying and go-ahead runs, suffering the loss in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen.
The Cougars open their first round playoff series on Wednesday night in Clinton before returning to Northwestern Medicine Field for game two on Thursday evening at 6:30. Purchase tickets by calling 630-282-8811 or online at kccougars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.