SOUTH BEND - A wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th was the deciding factor in a Clinton LumberKings 3-2, 10-inning loss, to the South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field on Thursday night. The final road game of the year pulls South Bend to within one win of the Midwest League title.
Pitching dominated throughout with early offense holding up for the Cubs. In the top of the first, South Bend jumped on Clinton starter Jake Walters for two runs. The inning opened with a Christopher Torres fielding error and was followed by a single from Andy Weber. Nelson Maldonado followed two batters later with a two-run single.
The lead would hold up for eight innings. Walters allowed no more runs following the first inning and ended his night with a no decision for six innings of work. He was charged with two runs, one earned, on six hits while walking one and striking out six.
Clinton tallied their first run of the night in the top of the third inning against Cubs starter Faustino Carrera. Evan Edwards singled to open the inning and scored all the way from first when Bubba Hollins followed with a line drive double into the left field corner to pull to within one.
Still, Clinton trailed heading into the top of the ninth. Hollins began the inning with a single, stole second and moved to third on a Jose Devers two-out infield single. Peyton Burdick then rolled a single through the left side of the infield to bring home Hollins to tie the game. The inning ended there with Burdick thrown out after taking a wide turn around first.
The game remained tied following the bottom of the ninth when rains forced a delay heading into the top of the tenth.
When the action resumed, at 12:10 am, the LumberKings were set down in order in the top of the 10th.
In the bottom of the inning, the Cubs walked off the LumberKings. Peyton Culbertson came on to work the frame and allowed a leadoff single to Nelson Maldonado. A sacrifice bunt and intentional walk followed to put the potential tying tun into scoring position. Marcus Mastrobuoni singled into right only to have Thomas Jones throw out Maldonado at the plate. Culbertson (1-1) then allowed the winning run to score five pitches later on a wild pitch.
The loss pushes the LumberKings to the brink of elimination meaning they will need to sweep all three games in Clinton to overcome their two-game deficit.
The LumberKings will take tomorrow off and then meet the South Bend Cubs for Game Three of the Midwest League Championship Series on Saturday night at NelsonCorp Field. Clinton will throw Josh Roberson (4-4, 2.25) against Cubs righty Riley Thompson (8-6, 3.06). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CDT) with the pregame show with Erik Oas beginning at 6:15 (CDT) on 100.3 FM WCCI and online at lumberkings.com via the tunein radio app.
Midwest League Championship Series tickets for game three in Clinton are on sale NOW. Ticket prices for playoff games remain the same as the regular season. $8 for adult general admission, $7 for student/senior/military general admission, and $9 for box seats. Fans who purchase tickets in advance of game day receive a $1 discount.