Baseball: Cougars take advantage of Quad Cities errors in 6-2 win

Cougars 6, Quad Cities 2

Recap: The Cougars broke out of a recent offensive funk with a six-run second inning, keyed by a two-run single from Trey Martin and two River Bandits errors. Tyler Ihrig picked up the win in his Cougars debut, going 5 1/3 innings.

Cougars record: 68-42 overall, 23-17 second half

Up next: Quad Cities (Kevin Comer 1-2) at Kane County (Jonathan Martinez 0-0), 6:30 p.m. Saturday, WBIG-AM (1280), (kccougars.com)

After scoring seven total runs in the last five games of a season-worst six-game losing streak, the Cougars needed an inning like the second inning they had against Quad Cities Friday.

Aided by a pair of Quad Cities errors, the Cougars plated six runs in the inning and made those runs hold up in a 6-2 win. Tyler Ihrig picked up the win in his first Cougars’ start after being promoted from short-season Class A Boise.

“We got lucky,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “We caught a couple of breaks with their defense. We had a decent approach at the plate against their knuckleballer. It was definitely nice to jump out to a lead with the offense struggling like that.”

Quad Cities went with left-handed knuckleballer Blaine Sims (2-3), and the Cougars (68-42 overall, 23-17 second half) got to him in the second inning despite his unique repertoire. The Cougars loaded the bases on an error, a walk to Cael Brockmeyer and Jeffrey Baez’s bunt single.

Carlos Penalver reached on another error, which scored a run, and Trey Martin followed with the decisive blow, a two-run single. An RBI single from Jacob Rogers helped finish off the six-run inning.

“We stuck with our normal game plan and we all hit the ball in the second inning,” Martin said. “It felt good, but we know that we haven’t had a lot of those losing streaks during the year; just keep playing hard and we’ll get out of it. If they give us extra outs, we have to take advantage of it.”

The ever-changing pitching staff received a nice boost from Ihrig (1-0) Friday. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking two and striking out six. Michael Heesch and Jose Arias finished it off with scoreless relief.

“Ihrig did a nice job,” Johnson said. “He threw a lot of pitches early, but he kept the ball down and threw a lot of Bugs Bunny changeups that almost seemed unhittable — positive outing for him.”

The roster shuffle continued before and after the game. Before the game, Victor Caratini, the catcher acquired by the Cubs from the Braves for Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell Thursday, was added to the roster along with pitcher Francisco Carrillo from short-season Class A Boise. Pitcher Tyler Skulina was promoted to high-class A Daytona and catcher Will Remillard hit the disabled list.

After the game, some moves were made that will go into effect Saturday. Infielder Giuseppe Papaccio was given his release, infielder Danny Lockhart was activated from the disabled list, pitcher James Pugliese went on the disabled list and pitcher Jonathan Martinez was added to the roster to start Saturday’s game.

Martinez was the player to be named later acquired from the Dodgers in the Darwin Barney trade earlier in the week.

Cougars 6, Quad Cities 2

Recap: The Cougars broke out of a recent offensive funk with a six-run second inning, keyed by a two-run single from Trey Martin and two River Bandits errors. Tyler Ihrig picked up the win in his Cougars debut, going 5 1/3 innings.

Cougars record: 68-42 overall, 23-17 second half

Up next: Quad Cities (Kevin Comer 1-2) at Kane County (Jonathan Martinez 0-0), 6:30 p.m. Saturday, WBIG-AM (1280), (kccougars.com)

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