A big sixth inning and Miguel Mercedes helped the Beloit Snappers (61-59) defeat the Clinton LumberKings (63-59) 9-1 Wednesday night at Ashford University Field.
With the Snappers hitless going into the sixth, Beloit broke open the scoring on five hits and a throwing error from Clinton to take a commanding 6-0 lead. There were 11 at bats taken by Snappers hitters inning and they batted around.
After Ryan Gridley and Skyler Weber led off with walks, they were both sent on a double steal. The LumberKings catcher Juan Camacho gave a wild throw and allowed Weber to advance to third and Gridley to score and make it 1-0 Snappers.
Austin Beck, who had one of his best series of the season before this one against Wisconsin, picked up where he left off with an RBI single to score Allen and it was 2-0.
After a Hunter Hargrove walk and a Logan Farrar single to load the bases, Miguel Mercedes singled past the third baseman Dimas Ojeda to score Beck. Jack Meggs grounded out to the right side to score Hargrove and then Gridley, batting a second time in the frame, singled home Farrar and the inning ended with Beloit on top 6-0.
The Snappers scored runs in two more innings outside of the sixth. In the eighth, Mercedes, who finished 2-for-5 with a team-leading three RBI, launched a solo home run to make it 8-0. In the ninth, Mercedes grounded out to score Hargrove and Farrar singled on a line drive to center to score Beck for the second time and make it 9-0.
Leading the way pitching for Beloit were the piggyback starters of Brady Feigl and Jean Ruiz. Feigl started, going two scoreless innings before Ruiz pitched the next six scoreless and only gave up two hits.
The LumberKings would get one run in the ninth on an RBI single off Joseph Camacho to end the shutout, but Snappers pitching held Clinton to just four hits on the night.
Nick Allen stole third in the sixth inning, his 23rd stolen base of the season. That stolen base surpassed Snappers Mickey McDonald for the new team lead this season, with McDonald 22/22 in stolen base opportunities. Overall on the night, the Snappers racked up 4 stolen bases.
Austin Beck notched two hits, his team-leading 33rd multi-hit game of the season. The Snappers 3-6 hitters in the lineup (Beck, Hargrove, Farrar and Mercedes) all had two-hits.
The Snappers broke out of a three-game losing streak with the win, moving 2.5 games above Wisconsin for the wild card playoff spot in the second half in the Western division.
The Snappers also moved to 22-13 on the season in series openers. They have won their last two series openers, Wednesday's game and a 7-3 victory over Wisconsin last series on August 11th.
Game two of the series will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Taking the hill on the rubber to start for the Snappers will be right-hander Gus Varland (0-0, 0.00). He will be opposed by Clinton right-hander Clay Chandler (7-3, 3.80).
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and have been the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. For more ticket information, contact the Snappers office at (608) 362-2272 or on our website, www.snappersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.