Biggest Comeback of Year Ends Skid
CLINTON, IA - The longest losing streak of the season came to an end with the largest come from behind effort of the year as the Clinton LumberKings dropped the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-7 on Sunday afternoon. Down by six, the LumberKings (20-21) stormed back to avoid a four-game series sweep to the Kernels (20-23) and end a four-game losing streak.
Cedar Rapids built their lead quickly against Clinton starter Tanner Andrews. Andrew Bechtold started the scoring with a two-run home run in the top of the second for his third of the year.
An inning later, the Kernels added on with a four-run rally in the third. Gilberto Celestino opened the scoring with a two-run home run to left - his first of the year. Jacob Pearson singled following the homer and scored three pitches later on an RBI triple by Chris Williams. A wild pitch scored Williams to give Cedar Rapids an 0-6 lead.
The LumberKings got on the board following the offensive outburst with the first of Will Banfield's run scoring hits. Christopher Torres singled with one out, was replaced on a fielder's choice by Connor Scott to set the table. Banfield then slugged his fourth home run of the year to left field to put Clinton on the board.
Two innings later, in the bottom of the fifth, Banfield drove home two more with a 388-foot double off the wall in left to pull the LumberKings to within two. He ended his afternoon with two hits and four RBIs - setting a new professional career high for runs driven in.
Tyler Mitzel relieved Tanner Andrews in the seventh and held the Kernels to one run over his three innings of work and was rewarded with the win. He allowed just one hit, walked one, and struck out two. Mitzel's (2-3) only run allowed came in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Jean Carlos Arias.
Trailing by three, Clinton rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take their first lead of the game. Sean Reynolds and Jerar Encarnacion each walked to open the inning and were followed by an RBI double from J.D. Osborne that chased Brain Rapp from the game. Derek Molina came in and promptly surrendered an RBI single to Ricardo Cespedes - making it a one-run game. Molina (0-1) then struck out the next two batters before Torres rolled a two-run single through the right side of the infield to give the LumberKings an 8-7 lead.
Molina was hung with the loss and a blown save for his time out allowing both of his inherited runners to score and one of his own over his one inning of work.
Mitzel stayed on for the ninth inning and set down the Kernels 1-2-3 to preserve the one run lead and finish off the LumberKings largest come from behind win of the year.
The LumberKings will now hit the road for a five-game series with the Beloit Snappers starting on Monday night. Clinton will throw right-handed pitcher Humberto Mejia (3-0, 2.67) in game one and Tyler Jones (1-2, 1.45) in game two. Beloit will tap righty Reid Birlingmair (2-0, 2.55) for game one and then go with Michael Murray (0-1, 16.88) in the second game. Fans looking to listen to the game can hear Erik Oas on the call at 100.3 FM WCCI and online at lumberkings.com via the tunein radio ap at 4:45 p.m. (CDT) with the pregame show.
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