Clinton, IA - The LumberKings had countless opportunities to sweep the doubleheader against Wisconsin on Saturday night at Ashford University Field, but will have to settle with a split.
Clinton knocked off Wisconsin 4-2 in game one but dropped game two, 2-1. In game two, the home team was 0-9 with runners in scoring position.
In the opener, Wisconsin right-fielder Mitch Haniger launched a solo blast to give the T-'Rats a 1-0 lead. The LumberKings bounced back in a hurry when Dario Pizzano scored on a wild pitch in the second inning to even the score at 1-1. In the third, Pizzano was at it again when he laced a two-run double to the gap in right-center for a 3-1 lead.
The home run by Haniger was the only hit Tyler Pike allowed in five innings. The southpaw struck out four and notched his first Midwest League win. He handed off to Blake Hauser who worked the final two innings and earned his first save of the season.
The LumberKings added a single tally in the sixth inning on an RBI fielder's choice by Jabari Henry. Wisconsin had an opportunity in the seventh to tie the game but Michael Reed bounced out to third with runners on second and first to end the game.
Game two was nearly a mirror image of game one when Haniger took LumberKings starter Matt Anderson deep in the top of the first inning for a 1-0 lead. They tacked on another run in the second on a 1-4-3 RBI fielder's choice by second baseman Chris McFarland.
Clinton trimmed the gap in the third inning courtesy of some shaky Wisconsin defense. Jabari Henry led off with a walk and came around to score on an error by Wisconsin pitcher Michael Strong. Another Wisconsin error, this time by first baseman Mike Garza, loaded the bases with no outs but Clinton failed to score any more runs in the frame.
The score stayed 2-1 as Anderson and Strong settled in. Anderson threw six solid innings but dropped to 0-2 when Clinton didn't capitalize on another opportunity in the seventh. Brock Hebert singled to start the inning and moved to second on Reed's fielding error. He stole third when Tim Lopes struck out trying to bunt. Guillermo Pimentel struck out for the second out in the inning and Gaby Guerrero bounced back to the pitcher to end the game.
Clinton begins a three-game series on Sunday as they welcome the Beloit Snappers to Ashford University Field. Right-hander Dylan Unsworth (1-0, 4.50) gets the ball for Clinton against right-hander Austin House (0-1, 4.00) for Beloit. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM CT.