The Swing of the Quad Cities scored three first-inning runs and held on late as they defeated the Kane County Cougars, 7-5, on a chilly Thursday night at Elstrom Stadium. Eric Haberer picked up his second win by working seven innings for the Swing, and Jaymie Torres got the final two outs for his first professional save. After a 1-7 start, the Swing have won four of their last five contests, and can sweep the four-game series with Kane County with a win on Friday night.
Quad Cities (5-8) exploded for three first-inning runs to take the early lead. After Matt Shepherd's one-out chopper to second base was mishandled, Joe Mather ripped a 1-0 pitch to the picnic area down the left field line, his second homer of the season for a 2-0 Quad Cities lead. Mike Ferris and Derry Hammond followed with back-to-back singles, and a groundout from Brady Toops scored Ferris to cap the rally.
The Cougars (5-9) got one back in the bottom of the first frame on Raul Padron's two-out single, but the Swing extended the lead with three more runs in the fifth. Mather walked, Ferris reached on catcher's interference, and Hammond walked to load the bases with one out. Toops lined a single to center to score Mather, Jarrett Hoffpauir's base hit to left scored Ferris. Jake Mullinax capped the rally with a sacrifice fly to left to bring home Hammond.
The Cougars came back to score two runs – both unearned – in the bottom of the fifth, then added another unearned tally in the sixth frame to cut Quad Cities' lead to 6-4. But the Swing got a run back to move to a 7-4 lead against reliever James Heuser in the top of the seventh, when Toops drew a two-out walk, scampered to third on an error, and sprinted home on a wild pitch.
Haberer picked up his team-leading second win of the season for the Swing, twirling his second quality start in three appearances this season. He allowed four runs (one earned) while scattering eight hits in seven innings, striking out two and walking none. Over three starts, Haberer has gone 2-1 with a 0.92 ERA, striking out eight and walking only one.
The Cougars made it interesting in the ninth inning, scoring a run and putting the lead run on base. Michael Gross struck out the first man of the inning before issuing a one-out walk, and Torres came on and immediately hit the first man he faced. Kevin Melillo sliced the Swing's lead to 7-5 with a double down the right field line before Torres struck out Tommy Everidge. After an intentional walk put the winning run on base, Torres coaxed a lazy fly ball to right field, caught by Wes Swackhamer for the final out of the game.
UP NEXT: The Swing and Cougars close out the four-game series on Friday evening, as Justin Brown (0-1, 162.00) goes to the mound against Ryan Webb (1-1, 4.32). First pitch is scheduled for 6:00, and coverage on Progressive Talk AM 1270 will begin at 5:45.
NEXT HOME GAME: The Swing begin a nine-game homestand on Saturday, April 23, with the first of four games against the Dayton Dragons. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
PROMOTION: Saturday will be Augustana College Day at John O'Donnell Stadium, a day for Augustana College to show appreciation for its students, faculty and alumni. In addition, it will be the third Swing into Reading Day of the season, with several hundred area children on-hand to celebrate their successful completion of the program. Tickets are available to all Swing home games by calling (563) 328-2000.