The Kane County Cougars beat the Lake County Captains 4-3 in the opening game of the Midwest League Championship Series, hanging onto an early lead through rain and excellent relief pitching from their opponent’s bullpen.
On paper, it seemed Wednesday’s game would be a pitchers duel between Cougars SP Jen-Ho Tseng and Captains SP Mitch Brown, but neither hurler had his best stuff. Both offenses struck early, with runs being scored in both halves of the first two innings. But from the 3rd inning on, pitching was the story.
Lake County relievers Caleb Hamrick and Robbie Aviles combined for six shutout innings in which they gave up three hits, no walks, and a wild pitch. Kane County relievers Ben Wells, Jasvir Rakkar and Francisco Carrillo gave up one hit, one walk, and two wild pitches in four scoreless innings after Tseng left the game.
Most of Kane County’s offense came from the top of the order. Leadoff hitter Shawon Dunston Jr. went 3-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run batted in. No. 2 hitter Mark Zagunis hit a two-run homer, and N0. 3 hitter Jeimer Candelario had two hits.
Bradley Zimmer had two hits for the Captains, and Claudio Bautista drove in two runs for them on a bases-loaded double.
Game 2 of the best-of-five series will be played Thursday evening at Kane County’s Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. The scheduled pitching matchup pits Cougars RHP Duane Underwood (6-4, 2.50 ERA) vs. Captains RHP Jordan Milbrath (3-12, 3.95 ERA).
Side note: On Wednesday the Los Angeles Angels became the first MLB team to win 90 games this season. That’s still one win shy of the 91 victories amassed by the Cougars during their regular season, which ended 10 days ago. Kane County had the best record in Minor League Baseball this year.
LumberKings extend PDC with Mariners
The Clinton LumberKings and the Seattle Mariners announced Wednesday they extended their player development contract through the 2016 season.
The LumberKings have been affiliated with the Mariners since 2009. Clinton was affiliated with the Texas Rangers during the previous six years.