GENEVA, IL - The Kane County Cougars ran out to an early lead over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Saturday night at Northwest Medicine Field and went on to a 14-2 win. They used three home runs in the first four innings to build a 10-0 advantage and the Timber Rattlers offense managed just three hits in the game. The loss was the ninth straight for Wisconsin.
The Cougars (38-28) scored first with three runs in the bottom of the second inning off Rattlers starting pitcher Jordan Desguin. Mark Karaviotis started the inning with a single. Then, Ramon Hernandez lined a two-run homer to left for a 2-0 lead. Desguin retired the next two batters, but Luis Alejandro Basabe doubled to keep the inning alive. BJ Lopez followed with an RBI double and the Cougars were up 3-0.
Karaviotis moved the lead to 4-0 with a solo home run in the bottom of the third.
Wisconsin (26-41) put their first two batters on base in the top of the fourth inning as Ryan Aguilar drew a walk and Monte Harrison singled. Cougars starter Sam McWilliams worked through the inning without allowing a run with a strikeout, a force out at second, and a flyout.
Kane County poured on the runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. The first two batters reached against Desguin and he was replaced by reliever Colton Cross to face Fenery Ozuna.
Cross got Ozuna to send a routine fly to left-center, but the ball was lost in the twilight and dropped in for an RBI double. Lopez followed with a two-run double and the Cougars were up 7-0. Cross retired the next batter, but hit Anfernee Grier. Then, Marcus Wilson would line a three-run home run to left and the Cougars were up 10-0.
Plate umpire Matt Cowen was hit in the mask with a fastball during the bottom of the fourth inning and worked through the end of the fifth, but could not continue. There was a twelve minute delay as base umpire Raul Moreno went to change into his gear to work the plate as the lone umpire officiating the contest for the rest of the game.
McWilliams, who would pick up his eighth win of the season, seemed to be affected by the delay. He allowed a hit to Aguilar and walked Monte Harrison before being replaced by Colin Poche.
Poche retired the next batter on a grounder that advanced both runners into scoring position. Demi Orimoloye was next and his fly to center was deep enough to score Aguilar with the Rattlers first run of the game.
Kane County showed no mercy as they took advantage of an error by Gilbert Lara to start the bottom of the seventh with Aaron Myers taking over on the mound. The next two batters singled to load the bases. Be DeLuzio and Grier followed with RBI singles and Wilson added a sacrifice fly for a 13-1 lead.
The Cougars added one more run in the eighth inning against Andrew Vernon. A leadoff walk, a single with an error on the play put runners at second and third with no outs. Manny Jefferson hit a grounder to Lara, who threw out the runner at third. But, the Cougars scored their fourteenth run of the game on the play.
In the top of the ninth and with two outs, Trey York reached base on catcher interference. It was the second time he reached on catcher interference in the game. Jose Cuas reached on a bad hop single that got York around to third base. Reliever Jake Winston fired the next pitch to the backstop and York scored on the play to account for the final run.
This result allowed the Cougars to clinch the first half Western Division title and means that the game that was rained out between the teams on June 12 at Neuroscience Group Field will not have to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Wisconsin is 1-7 against Kane County this season.
The first half Western Division Wild Card is still up for grabs between the Cedar Rapids Kernels and the Quad Cities River Bandits on Sunday afternoon. Cedar Rapids rallied to defeat Clinton 2-1 at home on Saturday. Quad Cities lost 4-3 in ten innings at Beloit.
If the Kernels win or River Bandits lose on Sunday, Cedar Rapids will make the playoffs. The River Bandits can get into the playoffs if they win and the Kernels lose on Sunday.
The teams will play again on Sunday on the final day of the first half. Thomas Jankins (3-5, 5.11) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Kane County has named Mack Lemieux (1-2, 5.32) as their starter. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00pm.
Sunday's radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 12:40pm. The broadcast is also available on TuneIn Radio and IHeartRadio. Subscribers to MiLB.TV may watch the game that way.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.