Burlington, IA - The Clinton LumberKings (4-7, 34-45) were hoping new faces and a calendar flip from June to July would result in a victory. But the Burlington Bees (7-5, 45-36) had other plans Tuesday night after falling behind 2-0, rallying for a 7-5 win in front of 639 fans at Community Field.
The calendar flip to July brought a roster makeover as well. Tuesday morning, Zach Shank and Tuesday's scheduled starter Lars Huijer were both promoted to High Desert, while outfielder Corey Simpson was demoted to Everett. Right-hander Dylan DeMeyer, who made just one appearance for Clinton, also joined the voluntary retirement list. Those moves brought in three newcomers - OF Brett Thomas, INF Luis Caballero, and RHP Kevin McCoy.
None of the three factored into the game, each having endured long flights from Arizona and Washington which took flight early Tuesday morning. As a result, Manager Scott Steinmann placed his active players in some unfamiliar roles.
Chantz Mack hit third for the first time this season, and Justin Seager batted cleanup in a lineup that featured just five players from Clinton's opening day starting nine.
The roster flux didn't prevent the LumberKings from a hot start at the plate, however. In the first inning, Clinton plated two runs on three hits and one Clint Sharp (5-4) walk. Seager laced a run-scoring single into center scoring Jack Reinheimer, and Isaiah Yates followed with his first of a three-RBI night, bringing home Mack on a fielder's choice.
Seon Gi Kim, starting in place of Huijer, pitched effectively until running into trouble in the fourth. Stephen McGee one-hopped the wall in left for a double and after Tyler Palmer drew a walk, Ryan Dalton cleared the bases with his 4th home run of the season.
Trailing 3-2, Clinton tied the game right away in the fifth. Reinheimer doubled to right-center and two more hits by Mack and Seager brought the shortstop home for his team-high 54th run scored.
Kim exited with one out in the fifth and handed over to Tommy Burns (0-4) who got the final two outs in relatively easy fashion. But in the sixth, the 20-year-old drilled Burlington right fielder Brandon Bayardi in the face with a fastball - knocking him out of the game - and putting Burns in a jam. He then walked McGee, fielded a sacrifice bunt by Palmer, before intentionally walking Dalton to load the bases.
Paul Fry came on for Burns in need of a double play ball. Fry got the ground ball he was looking for, but Peguero couldn't handle the chopper from Ismael Dionicio, allowing the Bees to retake the lead, 4-3. Erick Salcedo then smoked a three-run triple into the right-field corner, clearing the bases and giving the Bees a 7-3 advantage.
The LumberKings chipped away with one run in the seventh and another in the ninth - both on RBI base hits by Yates - but Jeff Zimmerman grounded out to second with two men on, leaving the L'Kings two runs short.
Sharp delivered his eighth quality start of the season, scattering nine hits and one walk while allowing just three earned runs. Right-hander Ben Carlson allowed one unearned run in the ninth on an error, one walk, and Yates' RBI single before getting Zimmerman to pick up his seventh save in 10 opportunities.
Clinton out-hit Burlington 11-8, led by Zimmerman (2-5, 2 2B), Reinheimer (2-4, 2B, 2 RS, BB, SB), Seager (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, RS, BB), and Yates (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI). Batters seven through nine went just 1-for-10.
Clinton and Burlington meet for the second game of their three-game series Wednesday evening at Community Field. The L'Kings will send left-hander Eddie Campbell (4-6, 6.68) to the mound against Bees right-hander Garrett Nuss (4-0, 3.88). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM CT. The game can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.