Fernandez was outstanding in his six innings.
GENEVA, IL - Entering Sunday’s game against the Dayton Dragons, the Kane County Cougars had only lost twice this season after leading the game heading into the eighth inning. Unfortunately for the team, they added one more loss to that total relinquishing a 2-1 lead by giving up one run in the each of the final two innings to lose 3-2.
Amidst the loss came a tremendous outing from Jason Fernandez who was recently moved from bullpen to the number five spot in the starting rotation. Fernandez hurled six innings of scoreless ball and only gave up two hits on the day. Cougars’ manager Aaron Nieckula was happy with his hurler’s performance.
“Jason (Fernandez) had a strong outing today and had good fastball command,” Nieckula said.
“He’s been solid for us all year and we’ll look to him to help us out in his new role in the starting rotation.”
The Cougars jumped on the Dragons early scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a two-out single from 1B Sean Doolittle, C Gustavo Rosendo hit his first home run of the year -- a liner to left field -- to give the team the early cushion.
The Dragons seemed clueless at the plate until the top of the seventh inning when normal closer Scott Moore took the mound for the Cougars. Moore gave up two straight singles to the first two Dragons batters – RF Dennis Phipps and LF Chris Heisey – to start the inning. After Rosendo threw out Phipps when he was trying to steal third, DH Carson Kainer hit a single up the middle that scored Heisey, who had advanced to second on Rosendo's throw to third.
Trailing 2-1 heading into the top of the eighth, the Dragons knotted-up the match after two straight doubles by SS Zach Cozart and CF Drew Stubbs. Moore again gave up the run and finished the day throwing 1.1 innings while giving up two earned runs.
With the score tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth, the Dragons would score once more off an error from Cougars’ SS Samuel Hernandez. Hernandez booted a ball hit by Heisey to lead off the inning. With a runner on first, Cougars’ relief pitcher Derrick Gordon gave up a single to Kainer that put Heisey into scoring position. After Gordon forced a double play advancing Heisey to third, Anthony Esquer hit what turned out to be the game-winning single to plate Heisey.
Gordon took the loss on in the game after giving up the unearned run in the ninth inning. Terrell Young, who replaced Dragons’ relief pitcher Marcos Mateo in the eighth inning, earned the victory after shutting down the Cougars in the eighth. Ramon Geronimo earned the save, his 10th on the year.
Doolittle was the only Cougar with two hits on the day including a one-out double in the bottom of the ninth. Stubbs led the Dragons with three hits on the day while DH Carson Kainer had two.