CLINTON – Naturally, the LumberKings had to make it interesting.
Clinton has continuously flirted with late-inning trouble this season, and Monday was no different, as the LumberKings watched a three-run lead in the eighth evaporate as Beloit ran away with a 5-4 win Monday night at a rain-soaked LumberKings Stadium.
The loss snaps the LumberKings' four-game winning streak.
Clinton's Sean Reynolds lit the scoreboard first, smashing a deep solo home run to right field to mark his first of the campaign.
Jerar Encarnacion brought in another run for the LumberKings in the third to help the home team jump out to a 2-0 advantage.
The teams endured a 47-minute rain delay after 1 2/3 innings.
Chris Vallimont was sharp on the mound for the LumberKings, tossing five innings and allowing just one unearned run on six strikeouts and four hits.
The Snappers took advantage of shaky defense in the fourth, as Beloit's Ryan Gridley led off the inning and reached second base on a dropped pop up by Clinton catcher Will Banfield. Gridley eventually came around to score on teammate John Jones' RBI single two batters later.
The LumberKings seemed to add insurance runs in the middle innings, tallying one run in both the sixth and seventh innings to take a 4-1 lead into the eighth.
Clinton scored on an error in the sixth and Bubba Hollins roped a run-scoring hit in the seventh.
CJ Carter was on his way to preserving the LumberKings' lead in the eighth, recording two outs with only a runner on first base. But the Snappers rattled off a rally consisting of two hits, a walk and an error to take its first lead of the game.
Hollins and Reynolds both had three hits for the LumberKings.
Errors, errors... and more errors
Clinton left the ballpark as the Midwest League leader in errors, as three more blunders Monday night pushed the season total to 32.
The LumberKings have committed multiple errors in each of the past four games and had three or more mistakes three times.
Clinton's defensive miscues have often spoiled impressive performances from the team's starting rotation, as opposing teams have only earned 43 of their 62 (69 percent) runs this season.
Reynolds is raking
The 6-foot-7 slugger is officially turning the tide on a brutal start to the season. After Monday night's 3-for-5 performance, Reynolds has now recorded seven hits in his last 16 official at-bats.
And these aren't bloopers into shallow right field, either. Of the seven, five have went for extra bases, which includes four doubles and a home run. The long ball on Monday traveled an estimated 395 feet and marked Reynolds' first of the season after leading the New York-Penn League with 17 round-trippers in 2018.
Prior to April 18, Reynolds was hitting just 2-for-40 (.050) to start the campaign.
Clinton (9-7) and Beloit (6-10) will play the second of a three-game set Tuesday afternoon at LumberKings Stadium. The LumberKings will send Humberto Mejia (1-0, 2.84 ERA) while the Snappers will counter with Bryce Conley (0-0, 3.00 ERA).
First pitch is slated for noon.