Geneva, IL - The Clinton LumberKings (25-22) managed only five hits but salvaged the series finale with a 3-2 win vs. the Kane County Cougars (32-17) Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Clinton won for the fifth time in righty Jose Flores' five starts, as he picked up his first win of the season.
Clinton failed to hold the lead in either of the first two games of the series, a 6-1 loss Thursday, and a 7-0 shutout Friday, but took the lead in the top of the first inning Saturday night in Geneva. Ian Miller led off the game with a base hit off of right-handed starter Daury Torrez (4-3), stole second, and scored on Austin Wilson's RBI single.
The LumberKings added two more in the third thanks to some spotty defense by the Cougars. After a one-out walk to Lonnie Kauppila, Miller singled on a bunt to third baseman Jordan Hankins, who then threw it past first base. Kauppilla scored on the E5, and Miller crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly that made it 3-0 Clinton.
Flores allowed two singles in the first, but retired the next 10, before Will Remillard singled to begin the fifth. After Hankins doubled to right field, David Bote plated two on a single to left field that made it 3-2 LumberKings. Flores escaped any further damage in the fifth, but surrendered back-to-back singles to open the sixth before Rafael Pineda came in from the bullpen. Pineda induced a double play from Ben Carhart and then Jacob Hannemann was picked off by Christian Carmichael to end that threat.
After Pineda allowed a two-out single to Jacob Rodgers in the seventh, Hankins grounded one to the right side, but Rodgers ran right into the ground ball and was called out to retire the side. Pineda retired the Cougars in order in the eighth, as he matched his season high in innings pitched at 3.0. He gave way to Emilio Pagan for the ninth. The LumberKings closer set down all three Kane County batters he faced as he picked up his eighth save of the season, his first in 10 days.
In addition to the fielding error in the third, Kane County had numerous mistakes on the basepaths. Flores picked off Carhart in the first, Bote was caught stealing by Carmichael in the fifth, Carmichael picked off Hannemann at third base in the sixth, and Rogers was hit by a ground ball when he represented the tying run in the seventh.
Miller extended his hit streak to a season high six games with his sixth two hit game of the season. Flores allowed two runs, the fourth time in five starts he has allowed one or two runs. Torrez picked up his second loss in as many starts, though he got credit for a quality start Saturday night. Clinton finished 3-3 on the road trip with a series victory vs. second place Peoria and a 2-1 series loss vs. division leading Kane County.
The LumberKings travel back to Clinton and will begin a six game homestand Sunday afternoon at Ashford University Field. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and LumberKings will play at 2:00 CT both Sunday and Monday, before the series finale scheduled for 6:30 on Tuesday night. Righties Lars Huijer and Edwin Diaz, along with lefty Eddie Campbell are scheduled to pitch in the series for the LumberKings. The series with Wisconsin gets underway with the pregame show at 1:45 Sunday afternoon in Clinton on 100.3 FM WCCI, WCCIRadio.com, and LumberKings.com.