GENEVA, Ill. — In what turned out to be a back and forth game, the LumberKings had a chance to tie the game in the ninth inning down by two. Clinton would get one of the two runs necessary to keep the game alive, but stranded the tying run at third, giving the Cougars a 4-3 win, their second one-run victory in the series.
With the score 4-2 Cougars going into the ninth, Mason McCullough was brought on to close it out, but after walking leadoff man Chris Mariscal, he was immediately pulled for Cody Clark.
Gus Craig pinch hit, and reached on the third error of the game from Luis Basabe. Conner Hale then pinch hit and flew out hard to center. Rafael Fernandez came through though, singling to center to bring home Mariscal and cut the deficit to one. Luis Liberato came up next, and a wild pitch from Clark moved Craig the tying run to third and Fernandez the go ahead run to second.
Liberato though popped out, and Rayder Ascanio struck out to end the game.
The LumberKings had a great opportunity to crack the ice in the top of the first against Kane County starter Sam McWilliams. Liberato started the game with a single up the middle, and after a McWilliams balk moved Liberato to second Ascanio singled to left, advancing Liberato to third.
Logan Taylor came up next and struck out, and with Dalton Kelly up, Ascanio stole second. Kelly struck out as well, and Alex Jackson grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw, ending the inning and stranding two in scoring position.
Kane County would strike first in the bottom of the second inning against LumberKings starter Ronald Dominguez. Trevor Mitsui poked a lead off single into center field, and Dominguez issued a rare walk to the next hitter, Frank Christy. Joey Armstrong grounded out to third, but both runners moved up. Fernery Ozuna stepped up next, and he smashed the first pitch he saw down the first base line, going for a double and scoring both runs. However, Ozuna was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple.
Clinton would cut the deficit to one in the fourth on a comedy of errors from Kane County. Kelly started the inning with a ground ball to shortstop Luis Basabe that was thrown wide of first. Jackson stepped up next, and with a 1-0 count, Kelly stole second. The throw down from Christy went low and skipped into center field, allowing Kelly to go to third. Jackson grounded one to short that scored Kelly, but Basabe couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing him to reach base. The LumberKings couldn’t do anything more in the inning, as McWilliams got a fielders choice, a ground out, and a pop out to end the inning.
The Cougars would piece across a key piece of insurance in the fifth, as with two out and nobody on, Luis Basabe singled to center, and Zach Nehrir reached on an infield single. Ronald Dominguez got a 1-2 count on Stryker Trahan, but Trahan ripped the 1-2 pitch down the right field line for a double, scoring Basabe to extend the lead to 3-1.
Kane County got another key insurance run in the eighth, as Stryker Trahan’s leadoff triple came home on a one out single from Frank Christy.