Clinton, IA - The Clinton LumberKings (13-18, 43-56) followed up their 4-2 road trip with a series opening win, as they took down the eastern division leading West Michigan Whitecaps (19-12, 60-41) 4-2 at Ashford University Field. Clinton starter Eddie Campbell allowed only one run over six innings, his sixth quality start of the season, as he improved to 6-7.
The visiting Whitecaps struck first and snapped a six game stretch in which Clinton scored the first run. Wynton Bernard led off the ballgame with a double, his 20th of the season, and later scored on Raph Rhymes' groundout to shortstop. Dominic Ficociello picked up his league leading 121st hit of the season in the inning, but was thrown out trying to advance from first to third on a throwing error by Campbell.
The LumberKings trailed for only a few minutes, as they struck for two off of Whitecaps starter Chad Green (3-4). Following a single by Aaron Barbosa and walk to Chantz Mack, the pair executed a double steal amidst Green's strikeout of Justin Seager. With two outs in the inning, Marcus Littlewood singled to the opposite field as both Barbosa and Mack scored. Clinton led 2-1 after one inning, and did not look back.
Campbell worked in and out of trouble through much of his outing. The lefty allowed three men to reach in the third, but got Javier Betancourt to ground into an inning ending double play. He put two on in the fourth, but got a double play from Dominic Ficociello. He finished off his night in the sixth as he stranded runners on first and second, as he left in line for the win.
The LumberKings added on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth, as Chantz Mack homered just inside the right field foul pole off of reliever Montreal Robertson, his sixth of the season. Scott Steinmann went to his bullpen for the final three innings, as Kevin McCoy and Emilio Pagan (SV, 11) combined to pitch the final three frames to close out the win. Pagan allowed one run in the 9th, but retired Pat Leyland with the tying runs aboard in the inning.
The win was the sixth in the past eight games for the LumberKings after they began July with just three victories in the first 13 games. Jack Reinheimer had three hits including a pair of doubles, his eighth game with 3+ hits in 2014. Mack's home run in the sixth extended his hit streak to six games, just two shy of his season high. Ficociello's two singles in the game advanced his league high total to 122, while Betancourt and Bernard sit just behind him at 118.
Clinton will have an opportunity for a third consecutive series victory Thursday night, as two highly touted righties are set for the start. Edwin Diaz (3-5, 3.32) and Tigers 2013 1st round selection Jonathon Crawford (5-2, 3.20) match up in game two of the series. First pitch is set for 6:30 at Ashford University Field. The LumberKings broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, WCCIRadio.com, and LumberKings.com.