Clinton, IA - The Clinton LumberKings hammered the Lake County Captains Thursday night in front of 457 fans at Ashford University Field. The L'Kings jumped out to a 9-0 lead and eventually picked up their first double-digit win, and first series win, with a 12-2 victory.
The win propelled Clinton back above .500 at 4-3 and pushed them into a five-way tie for second place in the MWL Western Division.
Clinton scored the first run for the sixth time in seven games, plating two in the first. Ian Miller led off with a walk and moved to second when Captains starter Dace Kime threw an errant pickoff throw. Moments later, Zach Shank put runners at the corners with a bunt single to third. Jack Reinheimer rolled into a 6-3 double play to score Miller before Austin Wilson connected on his first home run - a solo shot to left-center - which made it a 2-0 Clinton advantage.
LumberKings starter Eddie Campbell couldn't get through five, even though he was backed with plenty of run support. The LumberKings tacked on three runs for Campbell in the third. Reinheimer singled and swiped second before Wilson walked. O'Neill then crushed a 2-0 belt-high Kime fastball over the wall in left-center for a three-run shot.
Campbell was unable to escape the fourth, despite a 5-0 lead. He allowed a leadoff double to Brian Ruiz before getting Cody Ferrell to fly out to O'Neill in left after an 11-pitch at-bat. Blake Holovach relieved Campbell and eventually stranded Ruiz at third.
Getting runners on base wasn't the issue for the visiting Captains. Getting them in, however, was. The Captains left at least one runner on base in every inning, and stranded a whopping eight men on base through the first three innings.
Campbell's 3.1 innings featured a number of 3-2 counts, ultimately ending his night before the five-inning mark where he would've qualified for his second win of the 2014 season. He scattered four hits and four walks while punching out five batters.
Holovach (1-1) picked up where Campbell left off and got the win, delivering 2.2 effective innings of one-run ball. He, too, struck out five batters.
While Holovach was pumping in strikes, the LumberKings bats added to the Captains' misery, scoring four in the fourth. Clinton raked four hits in the innings, highlighted by a Shank 2-run double.
Lake County tallied single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but the LumberKings answered with three additional runs in the home half of the seventh. Jeff Zimmerman split the right-center gap for a leadoff double, and Justin Seager drew a four-pitch walk. Christian Carmichael singled to load the bases, setting up Martin Peguero who knocked a 2-run double to the alley in left-center.
The LumberKings went 6-for-21 with RISP, faring much better than the Captains who went just 2-for-20 in those same situations. The Captains (4-3) left 13 men on base as they remained tied with Great Lakes atop the MWL Eastern Division.
Emilio Pagan closed out the Captains, tossing three innings while allowing just one run. He struck out four and picked up his second save.
Every LumberKing batter reached base either by walk or hit, and every single player touched home at least once. Five LumberKings players recorded multiple hits, led by Wilson and Carmichael who both went 3-for-4. The LumberKings have outscored their opponents 36-18 in the first seven games of the season.
Game four of the home stand and game one of a three-game series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps (2-5) is set for another 6:30 PM CT start Friday night from Ashford University Field. LumberKings right-hander Carlos Misell (1-0, 0.00) will make his second professional start and will face off vs. TinCaps lefty Payton Baskette (0-0, 2.08) who makes his second start of the 2014 season.