Minor League Baseball: Hanneman’s hot bat helps Cougars top Timber Rattlers

Cougars 9, Wisconsin 3

Recap: Jacob Hannemann had three hits and drove in two runs to lead a 13-hit effort. Trey Martin had two hits and stole a team-record five bases.

Cougars record: 4-1 second half, 49-26 overall

Up next: Cougars (Tyler Skulina, 4-3) vs. Wisconsin, (TBA), noon Wednesday, WBIG-AM (1280), kccougars.com

The Cougars have had plenty of success against Wisconsin this season, and when the Timber Rattlers visited Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Tuesday to start a three-game series, that trend continued.

Entering the game with a 7-2 record against Wisconsin in the first half of the season, the Cougars opened second half play between the two clubs in much the same fashion, using a four-run third to cruise to a 9-3 win.

The Cougars had feasted against Wisconsin pitching to the tune of a .295 average, and bolstered that mark with a 14-hit attack as all nine batters in the order recorded at least one hit.

Jacob Hannemann led the way from the top of the order with three hits and two RBI, giving him two multiple-hit games this half and hits in four of the five games. He has seven hits in his first 15 at-bats since the All-Star break, and is hitting .310 in June.

“When he does what he does, he creates havoc,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “He just keeps improving. Every day it’s something, either on defense or the bases or at the plate, he keeps improving and keeps learning.”

Jacob Rogers and Carlos Penalver had two hits apiece for the Cougars while Yasiel Balaguert drove in two runs. Hannemann was also active on the bases with two steals, and Trey Martin swiped a club-record five bases to cap a perfect 7-for-7 night in that department for the Cougars.

The previous record for steals in a game had been set by Michael Richard in 2008.

“Those guys always have a green light,” Johnson said. “Over the last two weeks Trey has really upped his aggressiveness. He’s been good at the plate, and his jumps (Tuesday) were outstanding, and that’s what he has to do to be the player he needs to be.”

Paul Blackburn (6-2) allowed single runs in each of the first three innings but settled down and retired seven of the last eight hitters he faced to make it through five innings and earn credit for the win. The 20-year-old right-hander surrendered five hits and struck out two against four walks.

Michael Wagner struck out four and allowed one hit in three innings of relief and Michael Heesch pitched a scoreless ninth. Wagner has now given up just two runs in 16.1 innings of work dating back to May 23.

The two teams continue the series at noon Wednesday. Tyler Skulina (4-3) will make his first start of the second half for the Cougars.