Beloit 2, Cougars 0
Recap: Dan Vogelbach had two hits for the Cougars and left-hander Michael Heesch gave up just a run on five hits in seven innings. But the Cougars could manage only four hits and were shut out for the fourth time this season.
Up next: Cougars (Felix Pena, 2-2) at Wisconsin (Preston Gainey, 3-5), 6:35 p.m. Saturday, WBIG-AM (1280) and www.kccougars.com
Updated: July 1, 2013 12:15PM
As is usually the case in baseball, a crazy game is followed by one that ends up being really clean and pretty quiet.
After the Cougars rallied from six runs down Thursday to beat Beloit 8-7, a pitchers’ duel broke out Friday night as the two teams combined for just two runs on 11 hits. In the end, the Snappers made single runs in the fourth and ninth innings hold up for a 2-0 win.
Beloit won three of the four games in the series. The Cougars will go back on the road for five games in Wisconsin with a 1-7 record in the second half.
Dakota Bacus (7-2) worked an efficient eight innings for the Snappers, holding the Cougars to three hits and two walks while striking out four. Tyler Vail allowed a single to Dan Vogelbach — who had two hits on the night — in the bottom of the ninth but finished the game for his second save.
“We swung early on a lot of pitches and made a lot of quick outs,” Cougars manager Mark Johnson said. “We were aggressive and we were hitting balls straight at guys. You have those days, but on the positive we played solid defense and (Michael) Heesch did a heck of a job.”
Heesch (3-6), taking the ball for the second time in the second half, went seven innings for the second time this year and allowed a run on five hits to notch his team-high eighth quality start.
The only blemish on his scorecard came in the fourth, when Daniel Robertson led off the inning with a double and scored on Renato Nunez’s sacrifice fly.
“Everything was working pretty well,” Heesch said. “I was able to work both parts of the plate and keep the ball down for the most part. That one run I just kept the ball up a few times and one or two mistakes can be the difference between a win and a loss.”
The left-hander has been solid over his last several starts, with quality starts in five of his last six outings. He threw six shutout innings in his previous start June 22 at Quad Cities. He’s given up a run on 11 hits in 13 second-half innings.
“It’s just having a plan each night and going out there and trusting what you’ve got and what your coaches have been helping you out with,” Heesch said. “Just going out with that plan and executing it the best you can. Everything is settling in and I’ve felt good over my last five starts. Hopefully, it keeps up.”
The Cougars’ only threat came in the fifth. Marco Hernandez walked and stole second, then advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Nick Rickles. But Willson Contreras struck out and Reggie Golden popped out to end the inning. Those were the only two times the Cougars batted with a runner in scoring position all night.
Saturday’s game in Wisconsin will start at 6:35 p.m. Felix Pena (2-2) will take to the hill for the Cougars.