CLINTON – Then there was one.
The Clinton LumberKings, once mired in the bottom of the Midwest League West division standings, have moved into sole possession of first place after defeating Lake County 10-1 Thursday night at NelsonCorp Field.
The win marked Clinton’s fourth in a row, serving as the third time the LumberKings have gathered four or more consecutive victories since June 20.
Just a day after ambushing Lake County for five runs in the first inning, the LumberKings scored twice in their first at-bat Thursday night before erupting for eight runs in the third to stake a 10-0 lead.
Bubba Hollins and Will Banfield hit back-to-back run-scoring singles in the first to open a 2-0 advantage for the home team.
Then a chaotic 13-batter third inning ensued. Clinton’s Peyton Burdick sparked the rally with a lead-off triple and eight of the next nine LumberKings reached safely.
Hollins recorded his second RBI hit of the game and Evan Edwards also pushed a run-scoring grounder through the infield to open a 4-0 lead. Davis Bradshaw brought in two more runs with a single and Christopher Torres greeted Lake County reliever Eli Lingos with a booming double to left field to plate two more runners.
Lake County starter Luis Oviedo collected only seven outs and was charged with nine earned runs on eight hits.
On the other hand, Clinton starter Alberto Guerrero continued his dominance in the confines of NelsonCorp Field with another formidable outing. The right-hander threw five scoreless innings and fanned five.
Guerrero’s ERA in home outings entered play at a stingy 1.77 clip.
Nathan Alexander threw the next two innings and allowed one run to set up the Clinton debut of Tyler Kolek, a former No. 2 overall pick (2014) by the Miami Marlins organization. The burly right-hander walked two batters and struck out two to post a zero in the eighth.
REYNOLDS MAKING WAVES
Former Clinton first baseman Sean Reynolds is making the most of his demotion to short-season Batavia, as the slugging lefty hit two home runs in his debut with the Muckdogs Wednesday night.
Reynolds was moved to Batavia on June 20 after struggling with the LumberKings. The Redondo Beach, California, native hit just .173 and struck out 145 times in 231 at-bats with Clinton.
Prior to Thursday night’s action, Clinton added pitchers Remey Reed and Josh Roberson to the active roster, which will give the team a six-man starting rotation.
Reed comes to Clinton by way of Batavia and Roberson returns from injury after a strong start with the LumberKings, recording 10 2/3 scoreless innings over the span of two starts before moving to the injured list on April 10.
Clinton (14-6) and Lake County (11-9) will complete a three-game set Friday night at NelsonCorp Field. George Soriano (2-5, 4.11 ERA) will take the ball for the LumberKings and will be opposed by Juan Mota (2-6, 5.69).
This week’s series marked the first time Lake County has played in Clinton since the 2016 season, as the Captains are members of the East division.