Lansing, MI - One day after a walk-off home run spoiled an opportunity for a series win, the Clinton LumberKings (12-18, 42-56) responded with a 2-1 series clinching victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (14-16, 46-53) at Cooley Law School Stadium. LumberKings starter Blake Holovach did not factor in the decision, but pitched into the seventh inning and picked up his fourth consecutive quality start.
For the sixth time in six games on the road trip, the LumberKings scored the first run. After a leadoff walk to Martin Peguero in the third, Jack Reinheimer made it 1-0 with an RBI single off of Lugnuts starter Alonzo Gonzalez (ND). Gonzalez allowed only two hits and one run over four innings of work.
Holovach, who came in with a sub 2.50 ERA as a starter, dropped that even further, as he allowed only one hit and one run over 6.1 innings. The lefty issued a two-out walk to Dickie Joe Thon in the fifth, and the Lugnuts tied it up on Justin Atkinson's first triple of the season. Holovach then retired Dawel Lugo to begin the seventh, and he left the game for Rafael Pineda (4-4) after Sunday's hero D.J. Davis reached on an error. With Pineda on the hill, Marcus Littlewood caught Davis stealing, and Aaron Barbosa threw out Thon on an attempt to turn a single into a double, Barbosa's fourth outfield assist of the season.
Tied at one in the eighth, the LumberKings took back the lead with an unearned run off of Brady Dragmire (3-6). Chantz Mack followed up Reinheimer's leadoff single with a base hit of his own, and Reinheimer advanced to third on a throwing error by Thon. The error proved costly, as the next batter, Justin Seager, gave Clinton the lead with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Pineda left the game with two on and one out in the eighth, as Scott Steinmann went with Paul Fry for the final 1.2 innings. Fry got Chaz Frank to line into a double play to end the eighth, and worked around a two out single to Lugo in the ninth as he picked up his second save of 2014.
Holovach's fourth quality start, tied for second on the team with Carlos Misell, Edwin Diaz, and Eddie Campbell, lowered his ERA as a starter to 2.13. The series win gave the LumberKings back-to-back series victories for the first time since the middle of May. Barbosa recorded his fifth multi-hit game in the past seven games, as he upped his average to a team best .309.
After a league wide off day on Tuesday, the LumberKings will welcome in the top two teams in the Eastern Division to Ashford University Field for a six game home stand. Clinton will play host to the West Michigan Whitecaps Wednesday through Friday, and the South Bend Silver Hawks Saturday through Monday. The homestand gets underway Wednesday night at 6:30 CT in Clinton.