Clinton right-hander Stephen Kohlscheen, 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA in 16 outings as a LumberKing before a midseason demotion to short-A Everett, came roaring back with authority Sunday afternoon at Community Field.
Kohlscheen scattered three hits and two walks over six scoreless innings, striking out six, as he led the LumberKings to a 4-1 win over the Burlington Bees. The win came less than 24 hours after the Bees blitzed Clinton 8-4 on Saturday night.
Kohlscheen (2-3) allowed a leadoff double to Tony Thompson in the second inning but retired the next three hitters to strand him, then retired seven more in a row, including three strikeouts in a dominant fourth inning. The Bees put runners at first and second against him with two outs in the fifth, but he recovered to fan Tyreace House on a breaking ball away, ending the threat.
Bees right-hander Nate Long, 3-0 against the Kings in four previous outings this season, kept Clinton off the board over the first two innings. He finally found trouble in the third inning as Mike McGee coaxed a two-out walk, Julio Morban (2 for 3) lined the Kings’ first hit into center, and Kevin Rivers walked to load the bases. Stefen Romero (2 for 4, 3 RBIs) followed with a smash single out of the reach of shortstop Wade Kirkland, scoring both McGee and Morban to give the LumberKings a 2-0 lead.
Long (6-6) yielded just those two runs on four hits over six innings. Left-hander Max Peterson took over in the seventh inning and was greeted by McGee’s first-pitch, opposite-field home run to right. The drive over the high wall was McGee’s second home run of the season and raised the Clinton lead to 3-0.
The Kings made it 4-0 against right-hander Sean Murphy in the top of the ninth as Morban lined a double into the left-field corner, Rivers walked and Romero rolled a single into left to score Morban from second.
The Bees avoided a shutout in the bottom of the ninth when Tyler Burgoon surrendered a double to Douglas Landaeta that scored Josh Whitaker, who had been walked by John Taylor.
The late run was just the opposite of how Saturday went for the Bees.
The LumberKings scored in the top of the first as McGee doubled down the left-field line and scored on Romero’s two-out triple off the outstretched glove of House in center.
That lead was short-lived as the Bees scored four times on Tony Butler in the bottom of the first.
Ryan Pineda opened the inning with a double to left-center and was joined on the basepaths by Consigli, who walked, and Whitaker, who dropped down a surprising bunt single to load the bases. Thompson followed with a two-run double to left-center, scoring Pineda and Consigli. Landaeta drove home Whitaker with a sacrifice fly to deep left, and Thompson scored on the first of Butler’s three errors — a wild pickoff throw.
Nino Leyja blasted a solo home run to left field in the second inning, and Clinton never regained the lead. The LumberKings did make it interesting in the eighth, though, when Morban (3 for 4) reached on a bunt single and made it all the way to third on an error. Morban scored on Kevin Rivers’ sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 6-4, but the Bees tacked on two insurance runs in the bottom half of the frame.
The weekend split left the LumberKings (22-20) three games ahead of Beloit in the race for the second-half wild-card spot in the playoffs.
The LumberKings (22-20) and Bees (14-28) continue the series at 6:30 tonight at Community Field. Left-hander Anthony Fernandez (4-3, 3.11 ERA) gets the starting nod for Clinton, while Burlington counters with right-hander Josh Bowman (7-4, 3.64).