Clinton, IA - A five-inning shutout start for Clinton lefty Blake Holovach was not enough for the Clinton LumberKings (21-28, 51-66) to take the series finale, as the Burlington Bees (23-26, 61-57) took the Sunday matinee 2-1. The LumberKings held a 1-0 lead through 6.2 innings, but Trevor Gretzky's second home run of the series tied the game, and a hit batter in the eighth plated the final run.
Off of his worst start of the season, Holovach allowed only two hits, a single in the first and a leadoff double in the fifth. The lefty retired thirteen of the final 15 he faced, and left in line for his seventh win of the season.
Clinton staked him to a 1-0 lead in the third. Justin Seager reached on a fielder's choice and moved to third on Victor Alcantara's (ND) wild pitch. With a man on third, Aaron Barbosa grounded weakly to third base, and Ryan Dalton failed to pick out the throw, as Barbosa got credit for a single and an RBI. In the no-decision, Alcantara allowed only three hits and five men to reach over six innings.
Aaron Brooks relieved Holovach to begin the sixth, and the righty retired both Mike Fish and Stephen McGee, before Gretzky homered for just the third time in his career. His second HR in the series tied the game at one, and although Brooks allowed another single in the inning, the score stayed 1-1 until the eighth.
For the second night in a row, the LumberKings were shutout by the Burlington bullpen. After 4.1 innings of scoreless relief Saturday night, the Bees bullpen went three scoreless innings Sunday afternoon. Clinton put men on first and third with only one out vs. Ronald Muck (1-0) in the seventh, but the righty struck out both Joe DeCarlo and Justin Seager. The LumberKings also left men at first and third in the eighth, and stranded the tying runner at first base vs. Alan Busenitz (SV, 15) in the ninth.
Burlington tallied the winning run off of Tyler Herb (1-1) in the eighth. Singles by Erick Salcedo and Kody Eaves, and a walk to Bo Way loaded the bases for Burlington with no outs. Herb worked a 3-2 count to Zachary Houchins, but hit the third baseman in the helmet with a slider, as Salcedo crossed the plate with the eventual game-winning run.
Just four of the nine Clinton starters recorded a hit, with Barbosa (3) the lone member to tally more than one. After Clinton won the opener, the Bees took the final three games by a total of five runs. Coupled with a loss by Wisconsin, the LumberKings remain seven games out of the second half wild card.
After an off day Monday, the LumberKings will head to Wisconsin to begin a three game series with the Timber Rattlers. First pitch Tuesday night is set for 7:05 CT at Fox Cities Stadium. Carlos Misell (8-9, 4.30) and Clint Terry (3-2, 2.41) are set for the series opener. The LumberKings broadcast for all three games can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, WCCIRadio.com, and LumberKings.com.