CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings knocked off the Peoria Chiefs 5-3 Friday night at Ashford University Field. The victory sealed another L’Kings series win, their fourth consecutive, who now sit in a three-way tie for second place in the Midwest League Western Division.
Clinton starter Edwin Diaz allowed three earned runs over four innings, allowing single runs in the first, second, and fourth innings. Peoria jumped out in front 1-0 on a Ronald Castillo run-scoring double to right.
“Diaz didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but I was happy with how he battled through four innings,” Clinton manager Scott Steinmann said.
The Chiefs made it 2-0 in the second, thanks to Diaz beaning and walking one batter. Chiefs third baseman Michael Schulze knocked an RBI double to left, bringing home Cesar Valera who led off the inning getting hit by pitch.
Down 2-0, Clinton rallied for three runs in the home half of the second. Austin Wilson and Joe DeCarlo walks sandwiched Jeff Zimmerman’s first of two doubles, and Corey Simpson sliced a two-run double to right, scoring Wilson and Zimmerman. A fielder’s choice loaded the bases with no outs, but an Ian Miller sacrifice fly was all Clinton could muster to go in front, 3-2.
Peoria eventually tied the game at three with another run in the fourth, but Clinton rallied for two runs in the fifth on three straight two-out hits. Jack Reinheimer reached on a bunt single and moved to third on a Wilson double to left. Zimmerman scored the pair with his second double of the game, and Clinton’s bullpen delivered four more shutout frames to preserve the lead.
Blake Holovach (3-1) picked up the win while Chiefs starter Blake McKnight (1-2) suffered his second loss of the season. Holovach and Rafael Pineda both pitched two shutout innings, and Aaron Brooks came on and closed out the ninth for his first save of 2014.
“The bullpen was awesome,” Steinmann said. “They put up a bunch of zeroes to close out the game.”
The win was Clinton’s third straight and the “Comeback Kings” have now won 4 of 5 and 9 of 12 since a five- game losing streak near the end of April.
Clinton is now 8-2 in the month of May.
“They’re realizing that they can be a pretty good team if they stay after it,” Steinmann said.