Baseball: Jacob Rogers’ two-out double gives Cougars come-from-behind win

Cougars 4, Burlington 3

Recap: Jake Rogers delivered a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in the go-ahead run and send the Cougars to their ninth straight win. Trey Martin also homered for the Cougars.

Cougars record: 37-20 second half, 82-45 overall

Up next: Cougars (Duane Underwood, 5-4) vs. Burlington (Alex Blackford, 1-3), 1 p.m. Wednesday, WBIG-AM (1280), www.kccougars.com

With a total of 87 player transactions this season — including 20 this month alone — the Cougars roster has always been in a bit of flux.

Still, there are a few players left that have been with the team since Opening Day, and it seems when the Cougars need a lift, many times its one of those core guys that gives it to them. Tuesday was Jacob Rogers’ turn, and the first baseman drilled a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Cougars a 4-3 win over Burlington and stretch their winning streak to nine games.

The Cougars also ran their record against the Bees to 8-0 on the year, and try to keep both streaks going in the finale of the three-game set at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Rogers appeared in his team-high 117th game of the season Wednesday, and leads the club in hits (106), home runs (15) and RBI (61). Coming to bat in the eighth with Yasiel Balaguert on second and Jeimer Candelario on third, Rogers went the other way with a liner to left-center that got past a diving Bo Way and rolled all the way to the wall to plate the tying and go-ahead runs.

“I figured they were going to pitch me away (because) the whole game, and series, they had been pitching me away,” Rogers said. “I was looking for a ball to drive that way and with two strikes I was looking for a ball up and not try to swing at anything in the dirt.”

Rogers, Shawon Dunston Jr. and Trey Martin have been with the club all season, and as of late seem to be in the middle of rallies and heroics.

It was Dunston who delivered a walk-off hit to give the Cougars a win Monday night, and Martin has drilled three of his four homers in the last week, including a fifth-inning homer Tuesday that tied the game at 2-all.

Manager Mark Johnson credits their leadership and work ethic, especially Rogers, the team’s oldest player, as one of the reasons the Cougars have won 82 games this season (82-45), the most in professional baseball.

“It’s that will to win and the will to want to be in that spot, and we’ve got a team full of those guys,” Johnson said. “(Rogers) has been extremely durable, and he runs that infield too. He’s a great team leader, very consistent and very well-prepared.”

Right-hander Paul Blackburn took the mound for the Cougars for the team-high 22nd time this season in search of his 10th win, but came away with a no-decision after allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits in five innings of work.

The win went to Zak Hermans (3-3) who allowed one run in his three innings, while Francisco Carrillo got through the ninth to pick up his fourth save.

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Cougars 4, Burlington 3

Recap: Jake Rogers delivered a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to drive in the go-ahead run and send the Cougars to their ninth straight win. Trey Martin also homered for the Cougars.

Cougars record: 37-20 second half, 82-45 overall

Up next: Cougars (Duane Underwood, 5-4) vs. Burlington (Alex Blackford, 1-3), 1 p.m. Wednesday, WBIG-AM (1280), www.kccougars.com

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