Narrowly missing out on no-hitting their opponent, the Kane County Cougars picked up a 6-0 shutout win in Game Two of the Midwest League Championship Series Thursday night, putting the Lake County Captains on the brink of elimination.
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Home cooking has been key for the Cougars this season, as the club wraps up regular and postseason play at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark with a 58-17 mark, good for a .773 winning percentage on the year. On Thursday, an effectively wild outing by Duane Underwood led the way for the Cougars.
Underwood pitched six innings, walking five – including loading the bases via base on balls in the fourth – but departed without allowing a run or a hit to the Lake County offense. Reliever Tyler Ihrig came on in the seventh, continuing the no-hit bid, but a bloop single by Richard Stock ended it in the eighth.
Yasiel Balguert opened the scoring for the Cougars in the bottom of the third, scoring Shawon Dunston Jr. with an RBI single as part of a three-run inning. Kane County went on to add runs in the fourth, fifth and eighth to pad the lead. A big part of the offense on Thursday night was Mark Zagunis, who went 3-for-5 with a double. The Kane County designated hitter is batting .435 in the postseason.
Although the Cougars tallied 11 hits on the night against the Cleveland Indians’ Class-A affiliate, Kane County went just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position, leaving 10 on base. The Captains, on the other hand, also struggled, going 0-for-5 in such situations.
The five-game series, in which Kane County holds a 2-0 advantage, now shifts to Eastlake, Ohio. Duary Torrez (11-7, 2.74 ERA) will take the ball in Game Three for the Cougars and will be opposed by southpaw Andeson Polanco (3-0, 1.95 ERA). First pitch on Saturday is slated for 6 p.m.