Clinton, IA - The LumberKings played a doubleheader Friday evening at Ashford University Field against the Beloit Snappers and failed to pick up at least one win in a twinbill for the first time in four doubleheaders this season. The Snappers, riding a three-game sweep of the Kane County Cougars, used dominant pitching and timely hitting, earning 1-0 and 5-2 victories.
Game one featured two highly touted right-handers in the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics minor league organizations. Clinton's Edwin Diaz - ranked No. 5 by Baseball America - and Beloit's Kyle Finnegan - ranked No. 16 by Baseball America, found themselves locked in a pitcher's duel which saw the first five innings blow by in just over an hour.
Finnegan faced the minimum through the first four innings, and Diaz matched the Snappers righty pitch-for-pitch, blanking Beloit through the first five innings.
In the top of the sixth, deadlocked 0-0, Diaz (1-2) made his lone mistake. With one out, the Puerto Rican fell behind Tyler Marincov before the Snappers slugger cleared the wall in left, providing the only run of the game.
Clinton threatened against Finnegan (3-1) in the seventh, but left the tying run 90 feet away. Marcus Littlewood reached on a fly ball to left after B.J. Boyd slipped on the rain-soaked outfield grass that had absorbed nearly 1.5 inches of rain, spanning Noon Thursday to Friday around 11 a.m. Shank replaced Littlewood as a pinch runner and moved to third two outs later. Joe DeCarlo then drilled a liner to Boyd again in left - and similar to Littlewood reaching via Boyd slipping, Boyd nearly cost the Snappers by losing his footing again. However, Boyd regained his balance and snagged DeCarlo's line drive, ending the game in dramatic fashion.
In game two, Clinton welcomed pitcher Seon Gi Kim back from High Desert - a South Korean who spent part of 2011 and all of 2012 with the LumberKings. Kim, who struggled out of the gate this season with the Mavericks at the Advanced-A level, delivered a strong start, throwing four shutout innings.
The L'Kings grabbed their only lead of the night with one run in the third inning off of Brent Powers, the run coming on the first of two RBI groundouts by Austin Wilson. But the Snappers battled back against L'Kings reliever Paul Fry in the fifth and sixth, scoring three and two runs in the innings, providing plenty of support for the Beloit bullpen who blanked the L'Kings over the final two frames.
Beloit (18-22) extended their winning streak to a season-high five games while Clinton (21-18) lost 1.5 games in the standings after Peoria and Kane County both picked up wins in their respective games.
Jack Reinheimer pushed his current hitting streak to eight games and recording a single in game one and a triple in the nightcap. The L'Kings recorded just four hits apiece in both games.
Clinton and Beloit meet for game three of their four-game set tomorrow evening, beginning at 6:30 PM CT at Ashford University Field. Left-hander Eddie Campbell (2-1, 4.22) will go for the LumberKings and will be opposed by right-hander Ronald Herrera (2-3, 2.56). The broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.