It wasn't quite as windy as on Friday night, but the conditions in Beloit on Saturday afternoon weren't much better. For the fourth consecutive game, the Snappers' would end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, this time falling to the LumberKings 7-6 in 10 innings.
Beloit jumped out to an early lead thanks to a strong offensive performance from Nick Osborne (3-for-5, run, 2 RBIS), but Marlins No. 5 prospect Connor Scott (3-for-6, run, RBI) countered with a great game of his own and was the centerpiece of Clinton's comeback victory.
The Snappers scored two in the first inning on Osborne's two-run single off Clinton starter Peyton Culbertson (0-0, 3.86 ERA). The LumberKings, however, quickly cut that lead in half in the top of the second thanks to a Marcos Rivera solo shot.
Beloit added on in a sloppy fourth inning for Clinton. Culbertson surrendered two walks and an Osborne double to load the bases with no outs before a Logan Farrar sacrifice fly. After a caught stealing, Ryan Gridley drew a two-out walk. Culbertson would have escaped the jam with minimal damage had the wind not taken hold of a Chase Calabuig fly ball, which led to a three-base error charged to the center fielder Scott and two more runs for the Snappers.
The LumberKings plucked away at the 5-1 deficit for the next few innings. Jerar Encarnacion hit an RBI single in the fifth before slugging a two-run shot in his next at-bat in the seventh, pulling Clinton within two. Scott's RBI double off reliever Jaimito Lebron in the eighth inning evened the contest and eventually pushed it to extra innings.
Clinton then broke away in the tenth. An RBI single from Marlins No. 29 prospect Thomas Jones scored Rivera- who had been placed on second base to start the inning per Minor League Baseball's extra-inning rules- giving the LumberKings their first lead of the day. Clinton added insurance when Jones advanced on a Charlie Cerny wild pitch and then scored on a throwing error by Beloit catcher John Jones.
The Snappers put up a fight in the bottom of the tenth with Jones' sacrifice fly cutting their deficit in half, but LumberKings closer Steven Farnworth ultimately shut them down for the second straight night.
Despite the loss, Beloit continues to hit. The Snappers racked up eight knocks, including a 2-for-4 performance from Cobie Vance. Scott, Encarnacion (2-for-5, run, 3 RBIs), Michael Donadio (2-for-4, walk) and Jones (2-for-4, RBI, walk) each had multi-hit games for Clinton.
Snappers pitching continues to issue walks at an alarming rate, however. After Joe Demers (0-0, 4.66 ERA) allowed two runs and walked just one in his 4 2/3 innings of work, tandem starter Reig Birlingmair struggled mightily to find the plate, issuing five walks in two frames. Beloit totaled six walks on Saturday, but Clinton managed to do worse: the LumberKings handed out eight free passes, including five from the starter Culbertson.
The Snappers look to avoid a sweep at the hands of Clinton tomorrow at 2 p.m. CT. Opening Day starter Chase Cohen (1-1, 1.93 ERA) will get the start for Beloit, coming off six innings of one-hit, shutout ball in Burlington his last time out. Cohen will face LumberKings righty Alberto Guerrero (0-0, 9.00 ERA).
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 visit our website, www.snappersbaseball.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.