Clinton, IA - The Clinton LumberKings' latest comeback attempt against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers came up about five feet short Sunday afternoon at Ashford University Field in a 3-2 loss. The tying run was thrown out at home plate in the ninth, and one out later, the LumberKings were handed their eighth one-run defeat of 2014.
Clinton had the tying run at second base with one out in the ninth, but on Zach Shank's single to right, pinch-runner Jack Reinheimer was thrown out at the plate on a one-hop strike from Timber Rattlers right fielder Jose Pena for the second out. The L'Kings still had a chance to tie and win the game with two runners in scoring position, but Corey Simpson flied out to the gap in left-center, ending the game.
Wisconsin (23-26) scored two runs in the first inning off of Lars Huijer (2-3), who was coming off his worst start of the season last Tuesday at Peoria. Huijer allowed two singles, hit a batter, walked one batter, threw a wild pitch, and had a throwing error on a pickoff throw to second. Somehow, it only resulted in a 2-0 Wisconsin lead.
Clinton (25-23) tied the game at two in the second inning. Joe DeCarlo singled, Justin Seager walked, and Martin Peguero singled, loading the bases with no outs. Lonnie Kauppila then drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing in DeCarlo from third. Shank bounced into a 6-4-3 double play moments later, tying the game at two.
The score remained 2-2 until the fifth inning where the Timber Rattlers executed three consecutive bunt hits to take a 3-2 advantage. Francisco Castillo laid down the first bunt and moved to second on a Marcus Littlewood throwing error. Omar Garcia followed with a perfect bunt up the third base line, and Johnny Davis made it a bunt trifecta with a beauty up the first base line, scoring Castillo.
The L'Kings had a chance to tie in the eighth inning, but left Ian Miller - pinch running for Austin Wilson who drew a one-out walk - at second base, after Miller swiped his 14th stolen base.
Then the wild ninth came, but Clinton again came up just short.
Wisconsin starter Barrett Astin (5-2) scattered four hits and four walks over five innings, allowing just two earned runs. Chris Razo recorded his third save in four tries, pitching around a walk, an error, and one hit in a scoreless ninth.
Corey Simpson extended his hitting streak to five games with an infield single in the fifth. Huijer settled down after the rough first inning and delivered his third quality start of the season. The righty allowed three runs - two earned - over six innings. He struck out one, walked two, and beaned a batter. He's now drilled a league-high 13 batters this season.
Clinton and Wisconsin meet for another 2:00 PM CT start at Ashford University Field on Memorial Day. Right-hander Edwin Diaz (2-2, 3.19) will start for the LumberKings who look to even the series at one apiece. He'll be opposed by right-hander Tristan Archer (2-2, 5.03). The broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.