GENEVA, Ill. — The Clinton LumberKings committed a season-high five errors, allowed 14 hits and squandered another 4-0 lead Friday in a 12-5 loss to the Kane County Cougars at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark.
The loss was Clinton’s third straight, and the LumberKings now sit under .500 (29-30) for the first time since May 1st.
The LumberKings scored first for the third time in the series and jumped to a 4-0 advantage, thanks to a Corey Simpson three-run homer in the second inning. The blast by the left fielder snapped an 0-for-21 slump. Clinton tacked on a run in the third on Joe DeCarlo’s two-out, run-scoring single to left, but right-handed ace Edwin Diaz couldn’t maintain the lead.
And his defense didn’t help much, either.
The Cougars scored their first of six runs off Diaz – just two earned – with one run in the third inning. The division leaders took their first lead of the night with four runs in the fourth, behind Jack Reinheimer’s second error of the game, two stolen bases and three hits. An RBI groundout by Trey Martin put the Cougars in front 5-4.
Kane County starter Daury Torrez departed with the 5-4 lead and was in line for his team-high sixth win of the season. The right-hander had to settle for a no-decision, however, thanks to another Simpson big fly — a solo shot leading off the sixth.
But the Cougars, who entered the contest with a league-best home record of 25-6, needed a win to clinch a first-half Western Division playoff slot.
Three runs in the sixth and another four in the seventh sealed the deal. And it also sealed Clinton’s fate.
Diaz (2-3) allowed a leadoff single to Carlos Penalver in the sixth and handed it over to lefty Paul Fry, who recorded only one out in the inning. Two walks, one hit and a wild pitch by Fry gave Kane County a 7-5 lead. Aaron Brooks came on in relief of Fry and allowed a run-scoring single to Jordan Hankins. The left-handed-hitting third baseman finished 5-for-5 at the plate.