Thanks to 9 runs from offense and a quality start from Jack Fox, the Kane County Cougars clinched the season-opening series with a 9-3 victory over the Cleburne Railroaders on Sunday at Northwestern Medicine Field.
Fox (1-0) pitched 6 innings, allowing just 2 earned runs on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts to 2 walks. Following Fox’s departure, José Fuentes and Danny Taggart went 3 frames without scoring.
For the third straight game, the Railroaders (1-2) took an early lead. In the top of the second, Cesar Trejo hit a 3-pointer to open the frame before driving home on a double by Bryce Brueggemeyer. The Railroaders would add 2 more into the frame on RBI singles from Vaibahv Desai and Nick Shumpert to make it 3-0.
After being held hitless for 2 innings, the Cougars (2-1) beat Cleburne’s starter Garrett Alexander (0-1) in the third. To start the inning, Galli Cribbs Jr. and Tra Holmes reached on errors. Ernie De La Trinidad drove in both runners with a double off the wall in right center field to pull Kane County within one. After 2 strikeouts, Nick Anderson walked before Josh Rolette hit a 3-run homer over the right-field fence to put the Cougars up 5-3.
Kane County continued to add in fourth. Alexis Pantoja doubled and Cribbs singled to put runners in the corners, Holmes then hit a short grounder, but Cribbs avoided the tag to get to third when Pantoja scored. De La Trinidad then drove in Cribbs with a sacrifice fly to left field. Later in the frame, Holmes scored from second on a sacrifice fly from second to give the Cougars an 8-3 lead.
The Cougars added 1 more run in the 8th on Cribbs’ RBI single.