Special to the Herald
BELOIT, Wis. — A late rally by the Clinton LumberKings in the ninth inning fell short as Beloit held on for a 6-4 win Sunday afternoon at Pohlman Field. The loss was the fourth straight for Clinton after going down 7-4 in the series opener Saturday.
Despite the losses, the LumberKings remained three games ahead of both Peoria and Wisconsin for the final playoff spot in the Midwest League’s Western Division.
Beloit jumped to a 2-0 lead Sunday before the LumberKings battled back in the third. Dario Pizzano’s second double of the day drove in Brock Hebert to cut the lead to 2-1. Tyler Marlette followed with a run-scoring groundout to tie the game at 2-2.
Pizzano’s two doubles extended his hitting streak to 18 games — the longest for a Clinton player this year. He has also reached safely in 34 consecutive games. Hebert finished 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored.
Starter Steven Ewing allowed a second solo home run to Daniel Robertson to start the bottom of the fifth inning. Ewing was charged with the loss after he allowed three runs over six innings.
Beloit added a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to extend the lead to 6-2. Clinton’s Luis Caballero lined a two-run single down the right-field line to pull the LumberKings within two in the ninth inning. The LumberKings brought the tying run to the plate, but the comeback wasn’t meant to be as Tyler Vail locked up his fifth save by getting Janelfy Zorrilla on a flyout to end the game.
On Saturday, ugly mistakes did in Clinton. The LumberKings committed costly errors in the 7-4 loss in Beloit.
The Snappers jumped on the board in the first inning on Clinton’s first error of the game. Starter Tyler Pike loaded the bases, but got a routine groundball for a possible double play. Martin Peguero’s relay throw on the turn was dropped by first baseman Taylor Ard. Instead of a scoreless first, Ryan Mathews and Daniel Robertson both scored.
Clinton fought back in the second when Zorrilla laced a two-out, two-run single to even the game at 2-2.
It remained deadlocked at 2 until Clinton took the lead in the sixth inning. With Hebert at first, Peguero doubled down the left-field line. The throw into second got away from Christopher Bostick, allowing Hebert to score the go-ahead run.
The lead didn’t last long as John Wooten started in the bottom of the sixth with a homer to left off Rigoberto Garcia. Garcia then allowed a single to Matt Olson but came back to get back-to-back outs. With two outs, Aaron Shipman hit a routine grounder to second, but an errant throw by Jamodrick McGruder allowed the inning to continue.
It came back to hurt when Mathews hit a two-run double that landed in left field in the middle of Pizzano, Hebert and Peguero.
Beloit added single tallies in the seventh and eighth and eventually held a 7-3 lead. Clinton scored a run in the ninth on Pizzano’s RBI double, but it wasn’t enough as the LumberKings dropped their third straight.
Game 3 of the series is at 7 tonight in Beloit. The LumberKings send right-hander David Holman (4-6, 3.23 ERA) against Beloit right-hander Dylan Covey (0-1, 4.23).