Geneva, IL - The Peoria Chiefs fell 11-2 in game one but bounced back to win game two of Thursday's double header 6-3 at Kane County. The double header split puts the Chiefs at 28-38 with three home games left in the first half and the nightcap win prevented the Cougars from clinching a playoff spot.
Kane County left two on base in the first inning before breaking through against Jordan Hicks in the bottom of the second. Manny Jefferson walked with one out and Adam Walton singled out of the nine-slot in the lineup with two down. Ben DeLuzio drove a hustle double into left-center as Jefferson scored for a 1-0 Cougars lead. Walton scored when shortstop Jose Martinez bounced a throw to first on what was ruled an infield single for Anfernee Grier. Hicks walked Marcus Wilson to load the bases but struck out Mark Karaviotis to end the inning with the Chiefs down 2-0.
The Chiefs had second and third with one out in the third but didn't score against Curtis Taylor. Kane County broke the game open with another two-out rally in the bottom of the inning. Luis Silverio beat out an infield single with one out and Jefferson was hit by a pitch. Walton again did damage from the bottom of the lineup as he singled home Silverio with two outs for a 3-0 lead. DeLuzio doubled to the wall in left to plate two more runs and give the Cougars a 5-0 lead.
Peoria got on the board in the fourth inning against Curtis Taylor. Andy Young powered his team-leading 11th home run of the season into the left-field pavilion to cut Kane County's lead to 5-1. Young leads the Chiefs with seven road homers and he has hit eight solo homers.
Kane County poured it on in the fifth inning against reliever Ronnie Williams. Silverio led off with a single and Jefferson doubled off the left-field wall. Williams walked Jose Queliz to load the bases and with one out walked DeLuzio to force home a run. A wild pitch scored Jefferson and put Kane County up 7-1 before a walk to Grier again loaded the bases. Eric Carter took over on the mound and an infield single from Marcus Wilson scored a run before the Chiefs got an out at the plate. Hernandez singled home a run and Silverio's second hit of the inning gave the Cougars a 10-1 lead. Jefferson walked to bring home Karaviotis for the sixth run of the inning and an 11-1 lead before Carter got Queliz to pop up to end the inning.
The Chiefs scored the final run of the game without a hit in the seventh against reliever Jeferson Mejia. Vince Jackson led off with a walk, took second on defensive indifference and moved to third on a groundout by Nick Plummer. Dylan Carlson drove him in with a groundout to second to make the final score 11-2.
Hicks (7-2) took the loss as he allowed five runs on seven hits over 3 1/3 innings. The All-Star walked four, hit two and struck out two. Williams allowed five runs in one inning with two hits allowed and three walks. Carter allowed one run on three hits and a walk while striking out one over 1 2/3 innings.
In game two the Chiefs faced Minor League Baseball ERA leader Jon Duplantier who entered the game 6-0 with a 0.95 ERA and no earned runs allowed at home in 38 1/3 innings on the season. That latter stat changed in the top of the second when Vince Jackson singled and Juan Yepez launched a two-run homer into the left-field pavilion. The homers is the fifth for Yepez in 19 games since joining the Chiefs and his third in four games.
Kane County cut the Chiefs lead in half against Ian Oxnevad in the bottom of the inning. Silverio doubled down the left-field line with two outs and scored on a double to right-center by Jefferson.
Both teams wasted leadoff doubles in the fifth without scoring. The Chiefs added insurance in the sixth against Duplantier. Young led off with a double to left and moved to third on a deep flyout by Ryan McCarvel. Kane County intentionally walked Jackson and Yepez made them pay with a RBI single to center for a 3-1 Chiefs lead. Yepez moved to second on a groundout and Carlson singled home Jackson for a 4-1 lead though Yepez was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Kane County got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a triple and a sac fly before the Chiefs put the game away in the seventh against the Cougars bullpen. Martinez singled and moved to third on a single by Billings. With one out Billings stole second and with two down McCarvel singled home both runners for a 6-2 Chiefs lead.
Yeison Medina took over in the seventh for the Chiefs and after a strikeout he allowed a single to Jefferson and walked Luis Basabe. With two down a single to right by DeLuzio cut the Chiefs lead to 6-3 but Medina struck out Grier to end the game
Oxnevad (1-7) earned the win as he allowed two runs on five hits over six innings in a quality start. He did not issue a walk and struck out two. Medina allowed one run on two hits, issued a walk and struck out three in one inning.
The Chiefs handed Duplantier (6-1) his first loss of the season and also tagged him for career highs in hits allowed (8) and runs allowed (4). He had not allowed a run at home all season and his ERA rose from 0.95 to 1.36.
Notes…Billings singled in the third inning of game one and the seventh inning of game two for a 11-game hit streak, the second longest on the Chiefs roster this season…Plummer played for the first time since last Friday while Martinez played for the first time since Saturday…The Chiefs roster is still at just 24 players since Andrew Knizner has not been replaced leaving the team just two bench players for a double header…Young's 11 home runs before the All-Star Break are tied for the most since Josh Vitters hit 13 in 2009…Patrick Wisdom (2013), Mason Katz (2014) and Richard Jones (2011) also had 11 in the first half…Young is tied for third in the MWL with 11 homers and sixth with 37 RBI…He was also hit by a pitch for the 10th time this season which is third in the MWL…Young reached base in both games and is tied for the MWL's longest on-base streak of the season at 29 games…Carlson leads the Chiefs with 27 walks…The Chiefs are now 10-2 in games started by Hicks…The Chiefs split their first three double headers of the season…Hicks allowed a season-high five runs, the second highest earned run tally of his career (8, July 26, 2016)…He hit two batters and leads the MWL with 12 hit batters on the season…The start ended a streak of four straight six-inning outings for Hicks and marks the third time this season he has left the game before the fourth inning ended…Medina allowed his first run in 11 1/23 innings this season…The Chiefs have allowed 10 or more runs seven times this season, all on the road…The Chiefs and Cougars went 3-3 against each other in the first half and will play 11 times in the second half…Peoria has split all four double headers in 2017…The Chiefs return home for the final series of the first half with a Friday first pitch against Burlington set for 7:00 p.m. as the Chiefs start RHP Austin Sexton (2-0, 0.78) against Bees RHP Joe Gatto (3-5, 3.81)…Friday is Star Wars night with Post-Game Fireworks presented by Health Alliance…The first 1000 fans through the gates get a Lightsaber while the Chiefs will be wearing Star Wars themed jerseys which will be auctioned off during the game to benefit the Children's Hospital of Illinois…Star Wars characters from the 501st Midwest Garrison will be on hand and available for photos…Friday is Strike Out Stroke Night with a helicopter landing scheduled for pregame…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android…The broadcast is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.