GENEVA, Ill. — For the third straight night, the Clinton LumberKings scored first. But for the third straight night, they came up on the wrong end of a close game.

Kane County narrowly escaped Fifth Third Bank Ballpark with a 3-2 win Friday in Midwest League baseball, extending their second-half winning streak to eight games.

Both starting pitchers went seven innings, and Clinton came within just feet of handing Zac Curtis (17 saves) just his third blown save of the season.

The LumberKings got only two hits vs. Kane County starter Ethan Elias (8-3), but they came back to back in the third inning. Following a leadoff single to right field by Kristian Brito, Wayne Taylor hit his first home run of the season, which just cleared the right-field wall. But the home run was the final hit that Elias allowed, and the only two other baserunners he allowed came on errors, as Clinton sent just three over the minimum to the plate over the first eight innings.

Kane County cut the deficit in half vs. Lukas Schiraldi (4-5) in the fourth inning. The Clinton starter walked Cody Regis to begin the frame. A single by Marty Herum moved Regis to second base, and both runners advanced on a deep fly out by Colin Bray. With the infield back, Michael Perez’s ground ball to second base scored Regis and made it 2-1 Clinton.

The Cougars plated two runs an inning later, again using their ability to get the leadoff man on base. Henry Castillo started the fifth inning with a double and moved to third on a bunt single by Victor Reyes. Chuck Taylor’s sacrifice fly to center field tied the game at 2. Two batters later, with two outs and Reyes at third base, Regis singled home the eventual winning run with a base hit to right field.

Though 3-2 was the eventual final, Clinton had a great chance against Curtis in the ninth inning. Arby Fields led off the inning with a single that deflected off of Curtis’s glove. Chantz Mack’s one-out double moved Fields to third, representing the tying run. With the infield in, Estarlyn Morales hit a sharp two-hopper to Kane County shortstop Ildemaro Vargas, who made a sensational play and threw out Fields at the plate. With men on first and third and two outs, Pat Leyland pinch hit for Taylor Zeutenhorst, but Leyland grounded out to Regis to end the game.

It was the eighth straight win overall and 11th straight win at home for Kane County, while it was the fourth straight loss for Clinton. The two teams will head to Clinton for a two-game series at Ashford University Field that begins tonight at 6:30. Jeffeson Medina (3-7, 4.52 ERA) will start for Clinton, while right-hander Brad Keller (3-7, 2.68) will make his fourth start of the season against Clinton.

COUGARS 3, LUMBERKINGS 2

Clinton ab r h bi Kane Co. ab r h bi

Fields cf 4 0 1 0 CTaylor rf 3 0 1 1

Mariscal 2b 3 0 0 0 Vargas ss 4 0 0 0

Mack lf 4 0 1 0 Regis 2b 3 1 1 1

EMorales rf 4 0 0 0 Herum 1b 4 0 1 0

Zeutenhorst dh 3 0 0 0 Bray cf 4 0 0 0

Leyland ph-dh 1 0 0 0 Perez c 3 0 0 1

DeCarlo 3b 3 0 0 0 Munoz 3b 3 0 1 0

Brito 1b 3 1 1 0 Castillo dh 3 1 1 0

WTaylor c 3 1 1 2 Reyes lf 3 1 2 0

Peguero ss 3 0 0 0

Totals 31 2 4 2 Totals 30 3 7 3

Clinton 002 000 000 — 2

Kane Co. 000 120 00x — 3

E — Vargas (7), Munoz (14). DP — Kane County 1. LOB — Clitnon 3, Kane County 5. 2B — Mack (15), Castillo (2). HR — WTaylor (1). SF — CTaylor. S — Mariscal.

IP H R ER BB SO

Clinton

Schiraldi L 4-5 7 7 3 2 1 5’

Brown 1 0 0 0 0 1

Kane County

Elias W 8-3 7 2 2 2 0 3

Solis 1 0 0 0 0 0

Curtis S 17 1 2 0 0 0 0

PB — WTaylor (10). U — Richard Genera (p), Brandon Butler (b). T — 2:06. Att. — 10,124.

This Week's Circulars