CLINTON — His players showed their generosity Wednesday night, and it wasn’t something Clinton LumberKings manager Eddie Menchaca was all that happy to see.
A 3-0 lead disappeared about as quickly as it was built, and before long it became a deficit as Dayton defeated Clinton 11-7 in Midwest League baseball at Ashford University Field. Only five of the Dragons’ runs were earned, and the LumberKings hit into two double plays and left nine runners on base.
“Obviously, our errors were the difference in the ballgame,” Menchaca said.
It didn’t take long for things to get out of hand, either. No sooner had the LumberKings scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning, then Clinton starter Tyler Pike began to struggle.
“He was trying to pitch through an injury — which in one aspect was good and another was bad,” Menchaca said.
Nick O’Shea singled to lead off the Dayton fourth and Joe Hudson followed with a walk. Next came the first defensive letdown. Junior Arias hit a potential double-play ball to Clinton shortstop Ketel Marte, but Marte’s throw whizzed right past second baseman Tim Lopes. O’Shea scored on Lopes’ error, and Hudson advanced to third.
Hudson scored the second run on Seth Mejias-Brean’s sacrifice fly, then Arias stole second and Brent Peterson was hit by a pitch. That was the end of the night for Pike.
David Holman replaced Pike and got off to a promising start when Arias was erased on the front side of a double-steal attempt. But Peterson, who moved up a base on the out, advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored the tying run on a single by Zach Vincej.
“That deflates a team,” Menchaca said of seeing a three-run inning answered in kind.