Brian Lees’s bases-clearing double sparked DuPage to a five-run 8th as the Hounds fought back for a 9-7 win over the Chicago Zephyrs in Sugar Grove.
Down 6-0 after the 1st inning, the Hounds scored twice in the 2nd and once in the 5th and 6th to make it 6-4. In the top of the 8th, Clayton Johannes led off with a single. Alex Cain then hit a groundball that ate up Zephyr third baseman Greg Sidor. Johannes went to third and Cain to second on the two-base error.
Chicago starter Nick Heniff intentionally walked Drew LaComb to bring up Brian Lees, who had grounded into a rally-killing double play in the 6th (the second for DuPage in as many innings). Lees made him pay, socking a line drive into the right center gap. All three runs scored on Lees’s double and the Hounds went up 7-6.
Mike Roberson followed with a double of his own to score Lees and knock Heniff out of the game after 124 pitches. Adam Wilson then brought Roberson home with a single to make it 9-6 for the visitors.
DuPage County (23-9) let the Zephyrs back into the game with an unearned run in the bottom of the 8th, but winning pitcher Nick McKinney limited the damage in his third and final relief inning.
Danny Riley got his first mound action of the season in the 9th. Riley struck out his first batter before walking Drew Bailey. Shortstop Drew LaComb then booted Matt Fallon’s would-be double-play groundball, LaComb’s fifth error of the day. The Hounds and Zephyrs combined for nine errors in the game. After forcing Raymond Williams to pop out, Riley struck out Mitch Ruh with a blazing fastball, earning the save and securing the Hounds’ gutsiest win of the season.
Chicago (6-23) burst out of the gate against Hounds starter Nick Martin, whose 11-inning scoreless streak at Waubonsee Community College was snapped almost instantly. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Drew Bailey, whose two-run single put the Zs on the board. Mitch Ruh followed soon after with his own two-run single. Chris Wido drove in the fifth run, and Jake Chavez scored on LaComb’s first error to make it 6-0.
Martin took the shellacking in stride, settling down to the tune of four scoreless innings. Only two errors put Zephyr runners on board in the 2nd through 5th, and Martin needed just 35 pitches in those four frames (he threw 40 in the 1st).
The Hounds knocked 11 of their 15 hits in in the first six innings, stranding 10 runners but scoring four. Alex Cain went 3-6 with two runs and an RBI, scoring from second on LaComb’s drag bunt in the 6th.
The triumph pushes DuPage’s record against the bottom-two Zephyrs and Joliet Admirals to 14-0. The Hounds also increased their MCL lead on second-place Southland to two full games. DuPage heads to Flossmoor tomorrow for a unique doubleheader: the Hounds will face the Lexington Snipes at 2:30, and a matchup with the Southland Vikings will follow. Fans can follow along on both games @thedupagehounds on Twitter.
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