CLINTON – The Clinton LumberKings brought their bats to play Thursday night, exploding for 22 hits in a lopsided 15-6 victory over the Beloit Snappers. The offensive outburst from Clinton set season highs in both hits and runs in a single game in the 2013 campaign.
“It’s a good confidence booster for these guys going into the last month of the season,” Clinton manager Eddie Menchaca said. The LumberKings moved to within a game of fourth-place Peoria for the final Midwest League Western Division playoff slot.
“Everything we preach was done today,” he added. “We weren’t executing with runners on base before. Today was one of those days. I’m hoping we can come out again tomorrow and play the same as this.”
The LumberKings came out of the gates firing on all cylinders in the first inning. Clinton scored seven runs, including four before Beloit recorded a single out. Jordy Lara launched a three-run home run, his team-high 10th of the year, to open a 4-0 lead.
The team did not let up on Beloit starter Andres Avila. The LumberKings ran him from the game after the first five batters reached in the second. Lara delivered two more RBIs en route to a five-run inning, opening a 12-2 lead. After the damage was done, Avila had surrendered 12 runs on 13 hits in just over one inning pitched.
D.J. Peterson got in on the action with a two-run home run in the third inning. Peterson also singled in the second and tripled in the sixth, leaving him a double shy of the cycle.
With the run support, Charles Kaalekahi cruised to his fifth win of the year despite allowing a season-high six runs. The right-hander was not at his sharpest, but it was more than enough with the offensive explosion. Clinton surpassed its previous high of 13 runs, set on April 27th at Lake County.
Jochi Ogando earned a nine-out save protecting the nine-run advantage. Ogando allowed just one baserunner over the final three innings for his third save of the season.
Seven LumberKings recorded multi-hit games, with all nine batters in the Clinton lineup collecting at least one hit. Ketel Marte matched a single-game season-high for any LumberKing with four hits. Lara also matched a team-high with five RBIs in one game.
The LumberKings and Snappers wrap up their four-game series tonight. Clinton goes for the series win with right-hander Victor Sanchez (2-5, 2.89 ERA) in the finale against Beloit right-hander Deyvi Jimenez (2-1, 7.65). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Ashford University Field.