SOUTH BEND, Ind. – An early lead for the Kane County Cougars quickly faded into a 7-2 defeat to the South Bend Silver Hawks on Wednesday night at Coveleski Stadium.
Albert Almora reached in the top of the first on a one-out single against starter Brandon Sinnery (6-4). Two batters later, Jeimer Candelario smacked a two-run homer to right putting the Cougars (34-50, 4-14) on top. Felix Pena (2-3) couldn’t hold on to the lead as the Silver Hawks (56-33, 12-8) evened the score in the bottom of the first.
Socrates Brito singled with two outs and scored on a base hit by Brandon Drury. Drury came home with the tying run on a single from Rudy Flores.
In the fourth, the Silver Hawks grabbed their first lead as Breland Almadova walked and advanced to third on a Brito double before another Drury single made it 3-2.
Pena lasted six innings and surrendered just the three runs. Sinnery was better as the game went on. He blanked the Cougars through the seventh and retired the last nine batters he faced after an Almora double began the fifth.
Dillon Maples replaced Pena in the seventh as the Silver Hawks pulled away. Consecutive singles and a passed ball contributed to runners on the corners. Fidel Pena’s sacrifice fly knocked home Mike Lang while Brito added a run-scoring base hit to draw Andrew Velasquez to score.
Flores cracked a two-run single to center, knocking in Almadova and Brito. Enrique Garcia and Kyle Schepel combined for the final six outs out of the South Bend bullpen.
The Cougars and Silver Hawks play the second of their three-game set at 6:05 p.m. today at Coveleski Stadium.
Lefty Brian Smith (2-3) pitches for the Cougars against right-hander Jesse Darrah (8-5).
The Cougars return to Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, when they host the Great Lakes Loons.