GENEVA – Infield errors extend big innings for the opposition and designated hitter Rock Shoulders bears the sole responsibility of driving in runs.
Through two games as a Class-A Cubs affiliate, the Cougars certainly have found a pulse on a frustrating script.
Friday’s 4-1 loss to Quad Cities closely resembled Thursday’s season-opening 7-2 defeat, although players didn’t exactly sulk after either game.
“It’s early in the season. It’s not a lot to worry about,” right fielder Bijan Rademacher said. “The good thing we can take from this game is we were battling. The last two innings, we were right there. We were a hit away from being a run down or even tied up, so we’re not going to read too much into it.”
After Shoulders’ RBI double tied the game in the seventh – his two-run homer accounted for the team’s lone runs Thursday – the Cougars were treading water behind reliever Jeff Antigua.
With one out and the game still tied in the top of the eighth, River Bandits first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki hit a grounder to the right side that Cougars second baseman Wes Darvill made a sliding stop to smother. Darvill threw quickly to shortstop Marco Hernandez, who dropped the throw at second base.
The go-ahead run scored on the play, and Rio Ruiz smacked a two-out, two-run double two batters later. The Cougars brought the tying run to the plate with one out in the eighth and ninth but couldn’t capitalize.
“There’s a lot of excuses you could make, but I mean, bottom line, you can’t give teams more than 27 outs,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “That’s what we’ve been doing lately.”
Kane County out-hit Quad Cities, 10-7, with Darvill (3 for 4) and catcher Chadd Krist (2 for 3) leading the way. Krist also threw out a would-be base stealer in support of starter Tayler Scott, a South African right-hander pitching in cold weather for the first time.
“It was new to me. It took some time getting used to, but the ball moves a lot in this weather, which is nice,” Scott said.
Scott took a no decision, spacing an unearned run, four hits and six strikeouts in six innings in his Midwest League debut. The 20-year-old only began playing organized baseball at 16.
Scott embraced soccer growing up, playing forward for various club teams in his native Johannesburg. At 14, he traveled to the U.S. for a two-week baseball camp, having only played the sport recreationally. A few weeks later, former major league left-hander and renowned pitching guru Tom House was imploring Scott’s parents to send him to an American high school. The family followed through when Scott was 16.
The Cubs drafted Scott out of Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the fifth round in 2011, and he was a rotation mainstay when Short-A Boise advanced to the Northwest League championship series last season.