GENEVA, Ill. — For the second night in a row, the visiting Clinton LumberKings (29-29) had an early lead and an opportunity to pull within half a game of Wild Card-leading Peoria.
But for the second consecutive night, the LumberKings dropped the chance as they fell to the Kane County Cougars (40-20), this time 7-3.
After a heartbreaking 5-4 extra innings loss on Wednesday night, where the LumberKings led 4-0 only to see the game slowly slip away, Clinton jumped on top in the first inning. Austin Wilson picked up his team high 41st RBI on a groundout off of Cougars starter Tyler Skulina (4-2). Wilson has knocked in at least one run in six consecutive games, a LumberKings season high.
The Cougars tied it up with a run in the bottom of the first charged to Clinton starter Lars Huijer. After a leadoff double by Jacob Hannemann, Huijer retired the next two before Jordan Hankins doubled home the Cougars centerfielder. The double for Hankins was the first of two on the night for the third baseman, as he also drove in a pair.
In the third, Skulina loaded the bases with no one out, but limited the LumberKings to just one. Jack Reinheimer plated Ian Miller on a ground out before Skulina struck out Wilson and retired Chantz Mack as Clinton led 2-1 after three.
The score remained 2-1 until both sides scored in the fifth. In the top half, Clinton upped the lead to two as Reinheimer brought home recently named Western Division All-Star Marcus Littlewood on a fly ball to leftfielder David Bote. But Kane County answered with two in the bottom half of the inning.
After Huijer allowed a one-out single to Hannemann, he struck out Lockhart for the second out. But the Cougars offense continued to rally. Ben Carhart walked before Hankins brought him home again to knock out Huijer with Clinton ahead 3-2.