Peoria, IL - The Peoria Chiefs blew a 6-2 fourth-inning lead and eventually lost 7-6 to the Clinton LumberKings on Saturday night at Dozer Park. The loss drops the Chiefs to 29-26 in the second half but they maintain a 1 ½ game Wild Card lead over the Beloit Snappers, who also lost.
Clinton got on the board in the first inning against Chiefs starter Ian Oxnevad. With one out, Joe Rizzo singled on a bouncing ball that leaked into center field. Yohan Quevedo doubled to left to move Rizzo to third, and Nick Zammarelli drove in the first run of the game with a single through the left side of the infield. Zammarelli went to second on a wild pitch and Gareth Morgan walked to load the bases. Jhombeyker Morales lofted a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing home Quevedo to give Clinton a 2-0 lead.
Peoria struck back in the third inning against Clinton hurler Nick Wells. Danny Hudzina led off with a single through the left side of the infield and Matt Fiedler lined a single to left. Mick Fennell reached on a fielder's choice, with Hudzina going to third and Fiedler out at second. Kramer Robertson was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and with two outs Stefan Trosclair blasted a grand slam deep over the left field wall to give the Chiefs a 4-2 advantage. The slam was his 12th homer of the season and had an exit velocity of 105 miles-per-hour.
In the fourth, the Chiefs loaded the bases against Wells again. Brian O'Keefe walked to lead off and Juan Yepez singled to center to give Peoria runners at first and second. With one out Fielder walked to load the bases and Fennell singled to center, bringing home O'Keefe and Yepez to extend the Chiefs lead to 6-2. With two outs, Dylan Carlson was hit by a pitch by Wells which re-loaded the bases. Steven Moyers relieved Wells from the bullpen and got Trosclair to pop out to end the inning and the threat.
Clinton knocked Oxnevad out of the game while cutting into the Chiefs lead in the fifth. Johnny Slater walked to lead off and Rizzo singled to right. Yohan Quevedo drove in Slater with a single to right, moving Rizzo to second with the Chiefs still in front 6-3. Zammarelli reached on an error by Trosclair, but Rizzo tried to score from second base and was thrown out at the plate by the second baseman for the first out of the inning. Morgan reached on an error to load the bases and with two outs, Nick Thurman reached on an infield single while Quevedo scored to make it a 6-4 game. The bases remained loaded and Oxnevad walked Dimas Ojeda to force in another run to get the LumberKings within one at 6-5. Max Almonte replaced Oxnevad from the bullpen, and struck out Louis Boyd to end the inning.
Clinton tied the game against Almonte in the sixth. Slater led off with a single to right, but Almonte struck out the next two hitters. With two strikes Zammarelli tied the game, 6-6 with a double to right field. Almonte struck out Morgan to end the inning and escape more trouble.
The LumberKings took their second lead of the game in the eighth against Chiefs reliever Dewin Perez. Boyd started the inning with a walk, moving to second when Slater singled to right. Perez got Rizzo to ground into a double play that moved Boyd to third, but a wild pitch allowed him to score and give Clinton a 7-6 lead.
Peoria got the tying run on base against Clinton reliever Seth Elledge in the ninth. With one out, Fiedler walked and was replaced by Nick Plummer as a pinch-runner. Plummer attempted to steal second with two strikes on Fennell, but Fennell struck out and Plummer was caught stealing to end the game.
Oxnevad threw 4 2/3 innings in a no decision while allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Almonte went 1 1/3 innings in relief while allowing a run on two hits with four strikeouts. Perez (2-5) went 2 1/3 innings in a loss allowing one run on one hit with a walk and three strikeouts. Austin Sexton went 2/3 of an inning with two strikeouts.
Notes…Trosclair's grand slam was the first by a Chiefs hitter since O'Keefe hit one on August 11, 2016 against Quad Cities…It was Trosclair's third go-ahead homer of the season, which is third on the team behind McCarvel (7) and O'Keefe (5)…Trosclair tied a career-high with four RBI…The home run by Trosclair was the 110th of the season for the Chiefs, which gives them the fourth most in team history…Carlson has scored a run in each of the last four games… He also had a seven-game hit streak end…Hudzina had his 10th multi-hit game of the season… Peoria was 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position…The Chiefs lead the MWL in fielding percentage and are on pace to set a team record but committed a season-high four errors on Saturday night…O'Keefe drew his 98th and 99th career walks, good for 6th on the Chiefs career lost…Peoria leads the season series 7-6 with two games left to play… The Chiefs will play the third game of a four-game series against Clinton starting at 2:00 p.m. Sunday…The Chiefs will send LH Evan Kruczynski (2-3, 4.25) to the mound against Clinton RH Ryne Inman (1-3, 8.37)… Ready, Jet, GO! from PBS will make an appearance… The first 1,000 Fans in attendance will receive a Stefan Trosclair player poster presented by PJStar.com and CityLink… It's a PNC Kids Sunday at Dozer Park and kids 12 and under receive $5 tickets and Free hot dog, drink and chips with a paid kids ticket… Kids 12 and under can also get pre-game player autographs… It's a senior Sunday with seniors 55 and over can get $5 tickets when buying them in-person at the Dozer Park box office… The broadcast can be heard, starting with the pregame show at 1:45 p.m. on www.peoriachiefs.com/listenlive which also has downloads for a free app on the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android… The broadcast is also available on the Peoria Chiefs Radio Network in the Tune-In Radio App.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.