Peoria, IL - The Peoria Chiefs surged for six runs in the final two innings to defeat the Clinton LumberKings, 9-4 on Monday night and complete a four-game sweep of the visitors. It was Peoria's first four-game sweep since April 25-28, 2009 and first four-game sweep of the L'Kings since July 3-6, 2006. The Chiefs' improved to 25-19 on the season and are now on a five-game win streak.
Peoria produced a 2-0 lead in its first trip to the plate that set the tone for a strong offensive performance. Matt Szczur led off with a broken-bat infield single to shortstop and Elliot Soto reached on a bunt single that LumberKings' starter Edlando Seco picked up, but couldn't throw over to first in time. With no outs, Greg Rohan sent Szczur to third with a fly out to right and Soto traveled to second on a wild pitch before Ryan Cuneo brought both runners home with a two-run single into center.
As the rest of the Chiefs' batting order came to the plate in the bottom half of the second, Peoria added to its lead against Seco. Kyung-Min Na lifted a base hit into left field and Arismendy Alcantara reached on a bunt single before Szczur grounded a base hit into left to load the bases. With nobody out, Clinton traded a run for two outs as Na scored when Soto grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to make it 3-0.
The LumberKings stormed back in the top of the fifth with a three-run frame against Chiefs' starter Dallas Beeler. Stefen Romero lined a leadoff single into center field before Kalian Sams homered to straightaway center to cut Clinton's deficit to one. With no outs, Julio Morban singled into center and stole second base before Jake Schlander tied the game at 3-3 with a RBI single through the right side of the diamond.
Clinton took its first lead of the game in the top of the sixth against Peoria reliever Bryce Shafer. With one gone, Kevin Rivers launched the LumberKings' second home run of the game with a high fly ball over the right field wall that made it 4-3. Clinton continued the threat late in the inning as Romero lined a single into right and Sams was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Morban knocked a base hit into right field and Romero turned the corner and headed home as Chiefs' right fielder Anthony Giansanti fielded the ball cleanly and came up throwing. He fired the ball on a bounce to Sergio Burruel behind the plate who tagged out Romero to limit the damage.
After a relatively quiet night, the Chiefs' offense surged for four runs on four hits in the seventh to take the lead for good. Szczur punched a leadoff single into left and stole second base before Soto ripped a RBI double into left-center field against Clinton reliever Stephen Kohlscheen. With Soto at second, Rohan lined a RBI single into center for his team-leading 31st RBI of the year. After Cuneo grounded into a force out at second, Giansanti belted a two-run shot over the left field wall for a 7-4 advantage. With one down, the LumberKings' brought in reliever Jandy Sena to replace Kohlscheen and he got two quick outs to end the frame.
Peoria put the cherry on top with its final two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Na drew a leadoff walk before Alcantara flew out and Szczur grounded into a force out at second base. On Szczur's groundout, Schlander attempted to turn a double play but made a wild throw to first that allowed Szczur to move to second. As Szczur approached second, Clinton catcher Steven Baron made an errant throw across the diamond and into left that allowed Szczur to travel to third. With two outs, Soto drove a RBI single into center for an 8-4 lead before Cuneo singled him home for the final run of the game.
Beeler allowed three runs, all earned, on four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He did not allow a walk and struck out a pair of batters. Shafer pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up one run on three hits. He did not allow a walk and stuck out one. Alvaro Sosa (2-0) pitched two shutout innings in which he struck out two. He did not allow a hit or a walk. Marcus Hatley came on in the ninth and struck out two of the three.
Casey's General Store Player of the Game - Elliot Soto (2B) - Soto went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBI. He ripped his fifth double of the season to drive in a run in the contest.
Notes: Soto recorded his second career multi-RBI game and second in three days...Peoria is 9-1 against the LumberKings this season and the teams don't play again until July 3...The last time Peoria allowed more than three earned runs in a nine inning game at home was April 10 vs. Cedar Rapids...The Chiefs have hit seven home runs in the last seven games...Peoria has outscored its opponents 34-9 in the seventh inning...Beeler allowed a season-high three earned runs in the game and the first run overall since April 14 against Burlington...Beeler allowed his first career home run when Sams went deep in the fifth...Na is on a seven-game hit streak and has hit safely in every game he has played in with the Chiefs...Szczur is on a nine-game hit streak...Soto is on a five-game hit streak...The Chiefs swept an opponent for the third time this season...Peoria begins a four-game series against Wisconsin on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m...Tuesday is Game Show Night as well as another KRAFT Singles Tuesday night ticket special...Fans can purchase one ticket and get one free by bringing a KRAFT Singles package rapper to the box office for every Tuesday home game...The Chiefs will start RH Su-Min Jung (2-0, 2.50) vs. Wisconsin RH Tyler Thornburg (3-0, 1.75)...The broadcast can be heard, starting with the pre-game show at 6:10 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for an iPhone/iPad app and a Droid app.