COUGARS 3-4, BEES 2-2: Not enough eruptions in doubleheader loss

The outbursts were briefly noisy.

That’s not enough for the Burlington Bees, who have started the second half of the Class A Midwest League season without a lot of offense, and without a win.

The Bees were swept in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Kane County Cougars at Community Field, losing 3-2 in the first game and 4-2 in the second game.

Burlington, which missed out on a first-half playoff spot in the Western Division because of a tiebreaker, fell to 0-3 in the second half.

“I think the story is more they’re trying to get rolling offensively,” said Los Angeles Angels field coordinator Chad Tracy, who is managing the Bees this weekend in place of Jack Howell. “We’ve scored (five) runs or something in three games. I think we’ve pitched extremely effectively for all three of these games — really well, actually.

“It’s a case of trying to establish a little more pressure throughout the game. Let’s get more traffic out there to give us a few more chances to score. We’re not giving ourselves many chances to score. I think all three of those are very winnable games if we put more traffic out there and score some more runs early in the game. It’s that simple.”

The Bees scored two runs in the second inning of the first game and two runs in the third inning of the second game, and that was it.

Both of the minor eruptions gave the Bees the lead, but Kane County had the biggest hits.

Buddy Kennedy hit a two-run home run in the third inning of the first game, then Zac Almond’s two-run home run in the seventh inning of the second game was the difference.

That has been another story of this series. Zack Shannon’s two-run home run in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game gave the Cougars a 2-1 win.

“Those games can go another way if you get a two-run or three-run lead early,” Tracy said. “When you kind of hang there tied for a while, it’s who’s going to have the big blow. And they’ve had that.”

Francisco Del Valle had a run-scoring double, and then he scored on Tim Millard’s single to account for the Bees’ runs in the first game.

Kevin Maitan hit a two-run home run in the second game, then Nonie Williams followed with a double into left-center field. But Kane County starter Matt Tabor struck out Spencer Griffin and Del Valle to end the inning.

“It looked like we had a little life going there for a second,” Tracy said. “And then it got quiet after that again. You’ve got to create more opportunities than that in order to put some pressure on.”

The Bees struck out 20 times in the doubleheader.

“I think we’re missing pitches, honestly,” Tracy said. “For the most part, we’ve done a good job of managing at-bats, staying in the zone. But the pitches we have gotten to hit, the ones that are center-cut, we’ve swung through them or fouled them off. You can’t do that. If you manage the at-bat well and you get a pitch to hit, you’ve got to square it up. Right now we’re missing that, and that’s where you get the low-scoring outputs.”

Almond’s home run in the seventh off Ed Del Rosario (0-1) came after Shannon doubled to center field. Kane County reliever Chester Pimentel (3-5) struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to finish the win.

The Bees had a chance to take the lead in the sixth inning of the second game. D.C. Arendas singled with two outs and moved to second on Pimentel’s wild pickoff throw. Justin Jones dropped a single into right field, but Arendas was thrown out on a close play at the plate.

Jose Soriano (5-6) took the loss in the first game. Soriano walked six and allowed four hits in five innings.

“Sori wasn’t as sharp or as crisp as he can be,” Tracy said. “But his stuff was still good — he landed some breaking balls, he threw some sharp ones. He wasn’t as sharp as he could be, but he battled and competed and kept us in the game.”

Bees starter Robinson Pina allowed three hits and struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings in the second game.

“I thought Pina was excellent,” Tracy said. “He lost a couple of counts, too, but his breaking ball was really good. Got a lot of swing-and-miss with it.”

ON DECK: The two teams close the series with a 2 p.m. game on Sunday. Burlington’s Cole Duensing (5-3, 4.21 ERA) will face Kane County’s Ryan Weiss (2-4, 3.84).

NOTES: Burlington’s Jordyn Adams now has an 8-game on-base streak. Adams walked twice in the first game and went 2-for-4 in the second game. … Maitan has driven in a run in six of his last seven games. … Attendance was 1,874.

Photo: Burlington’s Kevin Maitan gets ready to hit in the fifth inning of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

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