Clinton, IA - The Clinton LumberKings (29-33) dropped their season-high sixth straight game, were swept for the second straight series, and saw their slim wild card chances diminish even more Monday night at Ashford University Field. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (32-31) narrow 4-3 victory extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games.
The LumberKings scored first for the fifth time in six games, plating one run in the second inning. All-Star snub Austin Wilson led off the inning with his second triple of the season to right-center, and after a walk and fielder's choice, scored on a Taylor Williams wild pitch.
But after Williams' walk to Marcus Littlewood, the 4th round pick out of Kent State settled in, retiring the next 15 batters he faced.
Clinton's Carlos Misell, who put up zeroes in the first three innings, allowed two runs in the fourth inning on three hits. The L'Kings' defense, which has struggled as of late, dropped two diving catch attempts and couldn't turn a potential inning-ending double play. A run scored on Zach Shank's wild throw to first, and the next batter Angel Ortega brought home Paul Eshleman from second, giving the Timber Rattlers a 2-1 lead.
With Williams dealing, that lead held up.
Misell departed after five innings and handed over to Tommy Burns - just called up from Extended Spring Training in Peoria, AZ. Burns, who opened the season with Clinton, struggled in his return. The right-hander allowed one run in the sixth on three walks, one hit batter, and a wild pitch. In the seventh, Taylor Brennan hit a tape-measure drive beyond the Coors Light Picnic Pavilion in left, making it 4-1 Wisconsin.
Williams (4-1) exited after his six-inning, one-run-on-one-hit-outing, and gave way to Tyler Alexander who recorded the final nine outs, earning his second save.
Clinton's lone offensive threat came in the eighth inning, and it started with two outs. Justin Seager extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single to left, and Alexander then walked Aaron Barbosa and Shank. Jack Reinheimer drilled the first pitch he saw into left-center for a two-run single, cutting Clinton's deficit to one, 4-3. Shank moved to third on the base knock, but Austin Wilson lined out to second, leaving the tying run 90 feet away.
Wisconsin left 11 men on base and went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Their biggest threat against Carlos Misell (6-5) outside of the fourth came in the third. They loaded the bases on a single to left, bunt single, and two-out walk. But Misell escaped the bases-loaded jam, striking out Francisco Castillo with a 2-2 fastball.
The LumberKings didn't have many scoring opportunities. They left just four men on base and went 1-for-6 with RISP.
Clinton opens their last three-game home series of the first half against the Burlington Bees Tuesday night at Ashford University Field. Right-hander Jose Flores (2-0, 4.96) will start for Clinton and will be opposed by Bees right-hander Ryan Etsell (4-2, 3.77). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT. The game can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.