Clinton, IA - The Clinton LumberKings (2-3) were dealt with another one-run loss in their home opener Tuesday night, falling 6-5 to the Lake County Captains (4-1). The loss was the second straight for Clinton, who fell back below .500 and sit one game back of four Midwest League West Division teams.
The LumberKings dropped into a three-run first-inning hole as the Captains got to Clinton starter Tommy Burns early. Burns, making his first MWL start, allowed the first four Lake County batters to reach. Dorssys Paulino reached first on a Joe DeCarlo fielding error and motored home moments later on Claudio Bautista's RBI triple off the fence in right-center. Eric Haase followed with an RBI double and after Burns uncorked a wild pitch, Grant Fink laced an RBI single to right, scoring Haase. Burns retired Anthony Santander on strikes but couldn't finish the first inning. Nellie Rodriguez doubled to center and Jorge Martinez drew a walk to load the bases, ultimately end ing Burns' night.
Lars Huijer relieved Burns and started a 1-2-3 double play to prevent further damage.
Lake County added a run in the third inning against Huijer. Fink drew a leadoff walk before Santander doubled to right. Two batters later, Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Fink.
Down 4-0 in the fifth, the LumberKings finally scratched across their first run. Marcus Littlewood and Austin Wilson singled, putting two men on with two outs. Tyler O'Neill grounded a single to left, bringing home Littlewood from third.
The Captains trumped the Kings' one-run fifth with a two-run sixth against Clinton reliever Ramire Cleto. The right-hander allowed his second home run in as many appearances - a two-run shot by Lake County's No. 9 hitter Cody Ferrell.
But Clinton didn't go quietly. The bats awoke in the seventh for four runs, highlighted by two 2-run doubles. Littlewood and Jack Reinheimer strung together one-out singles before Wilson one-hopped the fence in center for a two-run double. Wilson advanced to third on the throw home, and O'Neill followed with a four-pitch walk. After DeCarlo went down swinging, Jeff Zimmerman drilled a two-run double to the gap in right-center, cutting the L-Kings deficit to one at 6-5.
Mark Bordonaro kept it a one-run game for Clinton, but the bats were silenced in both the eighth and ninth innings.
Four LumberKings recorded multiple hits, including Aaron Barbosa, Wilson, and Zimmerman who had two apiece while Littlewood continued his hot start with a 3-for-5 performance.
Littlewood raised his average from .417 to .471 and is 8-for-17 in four games.
Burns was handed with the loss after failing to escape the first. Lake County starter Mitch Brown threw 4.2 innings but was taken out one out before officially qualifying for the win. Alexis Paredes recorded the final out in the fifth inning and picked up his first win of the season.
Game two is set for another 6:30 PM CT start Wednesday night from Ashford University Field. LumberKings right-hander Edwin Diaz (0-0, 3.86) will toe the rubber for his second MWL start and will square off with Captains southpaw Luis Lugo who will make his first start of the 2014 season.