Appleton, WI - Tyler O'Neill went 4-for-5 with a grand slam, Eddie Campbell dealt six shutout frames, and the Clinton LumberKings (23-29, 53-67) handed the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (29-23, 65-56) their worst loss of the season Thursday night at Fox Cities Stadium.
LumberKings starter Eddie Campbell retired the first eight batters he faced, four on strikeouts, and his offense awoke in the fourth.
Clinton, who had scored just 12 runs in their previous five games combined, posted three runs in the fourth off of Wisconsin starter Javier Salas (0-1). Tyler O'Neill opened the inning with a double to left and one batter later, scored on Justin Seager's infield single to short which ended with a throwing error by Angel Ortega, his 34th error of the season. One out later, Jeff Zimmerman smacked his sixth home run of the season over the wall in right, scoring Joe DeCarlo who had reached on a fielder's choice.
Backed with a three-run lead, Campbell escaped first-and-second jams in the fourth and fifth innings. And in the sixth, the LumberKings put away the Timber Rattlers for good.
Salas departed in the sixth to right-hander Victor Diaz, and the switch only made things worse for Wisconsin. DeCarlo singled on the first pitch thrown from Diaz in the inning, and four walks later, Clinton found themselves up 5-0. Both Brett Thomas and Marcus Littlewood drew two-out, bases-loaded free passes, setting up O'Neill's towering grand slam to left-center.
LumberKings second baseman Nelson Ward, in just his second game with Clinton, singled home Zimmerman in the seventh who had begun the frame with a triple, providing the final run.
Campbell (9-8) yielded just five hits and two walks over six innings, and he matched his season high of eight strikeouts. The former Virginia Tech Hokie leads the LumberKings in wins, innings (120), and strikeouts (98).
Tyler Herb and Paul Fry worked the final three innings. Herb struck out the side in the eighth and Fry worked a perfect ninth with two strikeouts. The 14 strikeouts fell one shy of Clinton's single-game high as a staff this season.
Eight of the starting nine recorded at least one hit for Clinton, with five posting multi-hit games, led by O'Neill's first four-hit performance of the year and second four-RBI game.
The LumberKings' six-run sixth was their largest inning since June 29 when they scored seven runs in the ninth inning of a 7-4 win at Cedar Rapids.
In nine games since his return from a near three-month absence, O'Neill has five home runs and 12 RBI.
Clinton gained a game on Peoria and Quad Cities in the MWL Western Division standings, and with their win over Wisconsin, they sit six games out of the wild card with 18 games remaining.
The LumberKings return home for their longest homestand remaining of six games which includes three-game sets with Beloit and Wisconsin. The Snappers come to town Friday night for a 6:30 PM CT start. Clinton will send right-hander Jose Flores (3-4, 4.67) to the mound. The broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, wcciradio.com, and lumberkings.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.