PEORIA, IL- The Peoria Chiefs used a seven-run second inning to pick up a 9-5 win over the Clinton LumberKings on Friday night. The Chiefs record is 35-32 but they were eliminated from first half postseason contention due to a Burlington win.
The Chiefs grabbed the first seven runs of the game in the second inning. After an out, Mason Katz and Richy Pedroza singled. With Katz breaking for third base, Kenny Peoples-Walls swung and lined a double to left for the inning's first run. Michael Schulze came up with two runners in scoring position and hit a ground ball double off the first base bag and into right field to plate Pedroza and Peoples-Walls. After the second out of the inning, Juan Herrera lined a single to left, scoring Schulze and giving the Chiefs a 4-0 lead as Herrera took second on the throw. Following a Justin Ringo walk, Carson Kelly hit a ball high off the wall in right that he legged out for a triple which plated Herrera and Ringo. Vaughn Bryan singled to left field as Kelly came in for a 7-0 advantage.
Clinton scored single runs in the fourth and seventh to cut the Chiefs lead to 7-2, but the Chiefs answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh. Katz singled with one out and went to third on Pedroza's single. Peoples-Walls hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Katz. Schulze followed with a line drive double off the right field wall to score Pedroza from first and the Chiefs reclaimed their seven-run lead at 9-2. Clinton capped the scoring with three runs in the ninth, highlighted by a two-run home run by Austin Wilson for a 9-5 final score.
McKnight (2-6) pitched the first six innings allowing one run on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts to earn the win. Robert Stock pitched the seventh inning allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout. Jhonny Polanco tossed a scoreless eighth on a hit and a walk with two strikeouts. Zach Loraine pitched the ninth, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk.
Notes: Every Chiefs batter had a hit through two innings except Ringo, who walked in each of his two plate appearances…Ringo picked up a single in the fourth for an eight-game hitting streak…The streak is the longest of Ringo's career and ties him for the team's longest this season with Ronald Castillo and Cesar Valera…Kelly's triple was his fourth of the season to lead the team…Kelly had one triple in his first two pro seasons…The seven-run second inning is one shy of the season-high done May 6 at Beloit…Peoples-Walls had two doubles for the first time in his pro career…It was Peoples-Walls first multiple extra-base hit game since July 20, 2013 with Johnson City…Peoples-Walls had three hits for the sixth time this season, tying Herrera for the team-lead…McKnight earned his first win as a starting pitcher since August 22, 2013 with Johnson City…The Chiefs six through nine hitters of Katz, Pedroza, Peoples-Walls and Schulze finished a combined to go 9-for-14 with four doubles, six runs scored and five RBI…The Chiefs hit four doubles, the most in one game this season…The middle game of the series is Saturday at 6:30 p.m.…LHP Rob Kaminsky (1-1, 1.72) starts for the Chiefs while RHP Carlos Misell (6-5, 3.67) starts for Clinton…Baseball Hall of Famer and Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith will be at Dozer Park for the 12th annual IPMR Legends at the Ballpark Night…There will be postgame fireworks presented by Pekin Insurance…Dueling Pianos will be playing on the dugouts throughout the course of the game, with one on each dugout playing during inning breaks and during the postgame fireworks…The broadcast can be heard, starting with the Pre-Game Show at 6:10 p.m., on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android. The broadcast is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Network in the Tune-In Radio App.