The Kane County Cougars beat the Lake County Captains 6-0 Thursday to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series.
Lake County was dominated by Kane County’s pitching, but also made too many errors (four) and failed to capitalize on the few opportunities they had to score (bases loaded and one out in the 4th, two runners on base and no outs in the 8th).
Still, the driving force in this game was Kane County’s pitching. Despite walking five batters, Cougars SP Duane Underwood kept control of the game during his six innings of work. He didn’t give up a hit — the Captains managed to get only two of those in the game (back-to-back singles off RP Tyler Ihrig in the 8th inning) — and Underwood got out of the 4th-inning jam I mentioned earlier. He struck out eight batters.
Ihrig earned a save for pitching the final three innings of the game, giving up only two hits and a wild pitch while striking out four batters. He also hit a batter.
Offensively the Cougars were led by Mark Zagunis, who had three hits and a stolen base, and Shawon Dunston Jr., who had two hits, a walk, two stolen bases and a RBI. Dunston had three hits, two stolen bases and a RBI in Wednesday’s game.
Official attendance at Thursday’s game was 1,604, more than double the 761 who attended Wednesday’s game. It rained on and off during Wednesday’s game, but the temperature was much colder during Thursday’s game; the second game surely drew more fans because of the Thirsty Thursday ($1 drinks) promotion because, well, people like to drink cheap beer.
The series pauses Friday so the two teams can travel from Kane County to Lake County, a distance of approximately 400 miles. Game 3 will be played Saturday evening. The scheduled pitching matchup is Captains LHP Anderson Polanco (3-0, 1.95 ERA) vs. Cougars RHP Daury Torrez (11-7, 2.74 ERA). If the Cougars win, they become this year’s Midwest League champions, but the Captains can force a fourth game Sunday if they win Saturday, and a fifth game Monday if they win Saturday and Sunday.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler