COUGARS 3, BEES 2: Soriano, Yan sprint to the finish

By John Bohnenkamp

GENEVA, Ill. — Jose Soriano and Hector Yan were sharp in their final innings of the season.

The two pitchers, ranked among the best prospects in the Los Angeles Angels’ organization, struck out seven in seven innings in the Burlington Bees’ 3-2 loss to the Kane County Cougars in Sunday’s Class A Midwest League game at Northwestern Medicine Field.

Soriano started and threw four innings, allowing four hits and two runs, only one earned, while walking two and striking out three. Yan pitched three hitless and scoreless innings, walking two and striking out four.

That, Bees manager Jack Howell said, was a perfect way for them to finish the year.

“You want to be sprinting to the finish,” he said. “I thought they did that with the way they pitched.”

The Bees forced extra innings when Johan Sala tied the game with a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning. Kane County won the game in the 10th on David Garza’s infield single that score Tra’ Holmes.

Soriano, ranked the No. 10 prospect overall for the Angels and the No. 2 pitching prospect, finished 5-6 with a 2.55 earned run average, striking out 84 in 77 ⅔ innings. He allowed just five home runs, and opponents hit .197 against him.

Yan, ranked the No. 17 prospect overall for the Angels, was 4-5 with a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 148 in 109 innings, which ranks him second in the league heading into Monday’s 1 p.m. season finale. He allowed 74 hits, including just five home runs.

Yan pitched more innings this season than he had in his three previous professional seasons combined. Soriano threw the most innings of his career.

The two, both 20 years old, combined with relievers Parker Joe Robinson and Chad Sykes in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Beloit.

“Now they were sprinting across the line instead of dragging through it,” Howell said. “It was good to see them finish like that.

“It wasn’t so much the innings they pitched this season, it was how they handled themselves. They knew how to pitch out of trouble. They knew how to get back in the (strike) zone after getting out of the zone. Knowing how to pitch when you don’t have the best stuff. Those are all maturing things.”

It was the 15th extra-inning game for both teams this season, tied for the league lead.

Holmes started the 10th on second base under Minor League Baseball’s extra-inning rule. Zac Almond bunted him to third, then pinch-hitter Keshawn Lynch was intentionally walked. Garza then hit a bouncer over the head of Bees reliever Greg Veliz (2-2).

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