CLINTON — In a game that went back and forth, Clinton ended with the last laugh.
Clinton (9-7) defeated Quad Cities 7-6 on Monday at Ashford University Field, thanks to an eighth inning that saw a hit batsmen and an RBI double to extend its winning streak to four games and open a seven-game homestand.
To start the eighth, Burt Reynolds (no, not the actor) was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Reynolds stole second base, Tyler O’Neill walked intentionally, and then Austin Wilson executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to set up Joe DeCarlo to put the LumberKings ahead.
“To come in and win the way we did was great,” Clinton manager Scott Steinmann said. “The guys hung in there and competed for all nine innings, and took advantage of a great opportunity.
“What I liked most importantly was Austin’s bunt,” Steinmann added. “That puts a lot more pressure on the defense; I’m proud of him for getting a bunt down because Austin is a non-typical bunter.”
Wilson leads the team with 13 RBIs.
Edwin Diaz took the hill for the LumberKings and found trouble early in his fourth start.
Diaz loaded the bases in the first inning, forcing in a run. Diaz also allowed a run in the second inning. The right-hander from Puerto Rico threw a season-low 4 1/3 innings and struck out just two River Bandits.
“He didn’t have his stuff tonight,” Steinmann said. “He competed as hard as he has been, and I’m proud of him for that.”
Diaz still left with a 3-2 lead, thanks to a three-run home run in the third inning by Clinton catcher Marcus Littlewood. It was his second homer of the season.
The LumberKings increased their lead to 5-2 before Quad Cities came back with four in the top of the seventh to go ahead.