Midwest League: Julio Aparicio delivers for Cougars
By Mike Knapp For Sun-Times Media June 28, 2012 10:04PM
Updated: June 30, 2012 11:10PM
Comebacks have been a staple of the Kane County Cougars’ success this season. The team has rallied back to win 19 times this year.
They added another to that total Thursday night against Burlington, as Julio Aparicio’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth was the big hit in a 6-5 win in the opener of a three-game series.
Aparicio, who joined the team from Idaho Falls on June 21, came to the plate with Jorge Bonifacio on second and Danny Mateo on third and dropped a flare between three Bees in right center to break a 4-4 tie. Aparicio, who hit .169 in 67 games with the Cougars last year, is off to a better start this time, hitting .421 in 20 at-bats.
“He battled and just got enough to get it over their heads,” Cougars manager Buck Buchanan said. “He’s been playing for a while and has an idea of what is going on. He’s had some big hits for us.”
The Cougars (4-3 second half, 38-39 overall) took an early 3-0 lead when Murray Watts drilled a three-run homer to the picnic deck in right. It was Watts’ first homer since May 17 at Cedar Rapids, his ninth of the season and 40th of his pro career.
Burlington (5-2, 38-38) rallied back against Cougars starter Bryan Brickhouse, scoring four runs in the top of the fourth. Brickhouse, who had breezed through the first three innings while allowing just one hit, surrendered three hits and a walk in the inning — with Sean Jamieson ripping a two-run homer to left to make it a 4-3 game.
Brickhouse, a third-round pick by the Kansas City Royals out of The Woodlands, Tex., in 2011, was making his first start at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark and just the third of his pro career. He finished the fourth inning and was charged with four runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four.
“I don’t know if he got a little tired in the fourth, but he started leaving some balls up and couldn’t find his curveball,” Buchanan said. “He threw some good pitches and he’s got really good stuff. He will be fine.”
Cody Fassold tossed three hitless innings for the Cougars, then Malcom Culver came on in the eighth and while he allowed a run in the ninth to make it a one-run game, earned the win to improve to 2-0.
Game two of the series starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday as right-hander Kyle Smith follows Brickhouse with his third career start and first home start for the Cougars.