Herald Staff Report

PEORIA, Ill. — As they sat around and waited out a 49-minute rain delay, the Clinton LumberKings certainly couldn’t have minded seeing the precipitation fall on O’Brien Field. The rain — and the long rain delay — might have been the best thing that could have happened for them Tuesday night.

Peoria starting pitcher Chris Carpenter had struck out the side in the top of the first inning, so they couldn’t help but wonder if it would be a long night. While the night was made longer by a pair of rain delays that lasted 1 hour, 35 minutes, the rain had a positive effect for the LumberKings. Peoria pulled Carpenter before the second inning began, and the LumberKings found some pitchers much more to their liking as they recorded a 9-3 victory in Midwest League baseball.

Nate Tenbrink drove in three runs, Steve Moss was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Denny Almonte drove in a pair of runs for the LumberKings, who improved to 24-21 and moved into a third-place tie with the Chiefs in the Western Division.

The Chiefs led 1-0 on a one-out solo home run in the first inning by Josh Vitters, the league’s Player of the Week after going 11-for-30 with five home runs and 11 RBIs. But, given a new pitcher to face, Clinton quickly erased that deficit.

Jeff Beliveau replaced Carpenter and Clinton touched him for four runs on seven hits over 31⁄3 innings. Beliveau was replaced by Ryan Buchter, who gave up six hits and five runs, in just an inning-and-a-third.

Beliveau walked the first batter he faced, Kris Sanchez, and then hit Tenbrink with a pitch one out later. A single by Mario Martinez loaded the bases, and Blake Ochoa followed with a single that made it 1-1.

The LumberKings went ahead to stay in the top of the fifth inning.

Scott Savastano singled with one out and took second on a single by Sanchez. Moss followed with another run-scoring double, then Tenbrink made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Peoria pulled within 4-3 in the bottom half of the fifth, but Clinton put the game away the following inning against Buchter. The six-run inning included a two-run single by Almonte and a two-run double by Tenbrink.

Cheyne Hann (2-0) picked up the victory with two innings of relief of Bobby LaFromboise.

The two teams play again today at 6:30 p.m.

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