Dayton, OH - Gloomy skies resulted in a gloomy Clinton LumberKings performance Monday night against the MWL Eastern Division leading Dayton Dragons. The Dragons scored two runs in the first and sent 14 batters to the plate during a 9-run second before eventually winning 13-5 in a rain-shortened 8-inning affair at Fifth Third Field.
LumberKings right-hander Tommy Burns, coming off a poor performance in his MWL debut against Lake County last Tuesday, hoped to bounce back in his second 2014 start. Instead, Burns was roughed up much more worse in his second outing. After allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, a walk, and a wild pitch against the LC Captains in a 6-5 loss, Burns (0-2, 45.00) was hammered for eight earned runs on six hits, one walk, one hit batter, and a wild pitch Monday. The 20-year-old lasted just 1.2 innings after going 1/3 of an inning in his first start.
Burns departed after recording two outs in the second and handed the ball to reliever Ramire Cleto. Burns' successor didn't fare much better.
Cleto allowed five straight batters to reach, four coming via hit and the other a walk, before finally ending the 40-minute half-inning nightmare by striking out Beau Amaral. The inning featured seven hits, five being doubles and one triple, along with three walks, a hits batsmen, and a wild pitch.
Two innings in, Dayton held a commanding 11-0 lead. Every batter in the lineup had at least one hit by the end of the second, and some already had two. Seven of the nine Dragons had multi-hit games, led by Amaral who went 3-for-5 with one double and two triples. Amaral tripled to a near identical spot twice, both over O'Neill's head in right. One led off the game, and the other continued the second-inning hit parade.
Dragons starter Daniel Wright, making his first professional start, threw four shutout innings and allowed just three LumberKings batters to reach. Wright allowed a one-out single to O'Neill in the second, and walked Jack Reinheimer and beaned Austin Wilson in the shoulder with two outs in the fourth. Zach Weiss (1-0, 0.00) delivered three shutout innings in relief duty of Wright.
The LumberKings put up five runs in the eighth inning, despite recording just two hits. Clinton cut their deficit from 11 to five thanks to two Dragons errors, two passed balls, one walk, and a wild pitch. All five runs in the inning came against right-hander Pedro Diaz, but all five were unearned.
Dayton quickly answered with two runs in the bottom of the eighth and had runners at first and second with nobody out before the umpires called for a rain delay. After 30 minutes, the game was announced as a 13-5 final.
Clinton (5-5) was outhit 17-3 by Dayton (7-3) and committed two errors pushing their season total to 11 in 10 games.
O'Neill, Zach Shank, and Wilson were the only Clinton batters who managed hits against the Dayton pitching staff who still sits atop the MWL with a league-best 1.92 ERA.
In nine total starts, the LumberKings' pitching staff had allowed a combined eight earned runs in 39 innings pitched, good for second in the league. Burns, however, doubled that total in 1.2 innings Monday.
The LumberKings will look to end their second two-game skid of the season Tuesday night with righty Edwin Diaz (1-0, 1.86) scheduled to make his third MWL start. Right-hander Sal Romano (2-0, 3.00) is Dayton's probable pitcher for the middle game of series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM CT from Fifth Third Field. The broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM and WCCIRadio.com.