The Clinton LumberKings used three straight two-out, ninth-inning singles by catcher Tyler Marlette, third baseman Jordy Lara and first baseman Taylor Ard for a 6-5, walk-off win over the Quad Cities River Bandits at Ashford University Field Thursday night.
The River Bandits (30-21 second half, 68-52 overall) rallied from a 5-2 deficit but suffered their third walk-off loss of the season and third straight defeat overall Quad Cities fell 3 ½ games behind first-place Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League Western Division second-half standings, while Clinton (26-26, 59-62) won its fourth straight game to tie Peoria for third place in the division.
Quad Cities took a first-inning lead, as shortstop Carlos Correa hit a two-out single, and first baseman Bobby Borchering hit the first pitch from left-hander Scott DeCecco over the left-center field fence for his fourth Quad Cities home run and a 2-0 lead.
Right-hander Lance McCullers kept the LumberKings scoreless until the third inning, when a single and two walks loaded the bases before Lara drove a three-run double off the left-field wall to put his team ahead, 3-2. After McCullers allowed a walk and double by second baseman Tim Lopes to start the fourth inning, shortstop Martin Peguero hit a two-run single to extend the lead to 5-2. Peguero and Lara each had three of Clinton's 11 total hits. McCullers allowed five hits and five earned runs with four walks in his four innings.
The River Bandits started to come back against DeCecco in the fifth inning, as center fielder Tony Kemp singled, and right fielder Teoscar Hernandez doubled down the left-field line to put two runners in scoring position. Two batters later, Borchering slapped a one-hopper past Lara for a two-run single to cut the deficit to 5-4. Borchering set a new season high by driving in all four runs against DeCecco, who allowed seven hits in six innings while walking two batters and striking out five.
LumberKings right-hander George Mieses started the seventh inning, and with one out, he hit Hernandez with a pitch. After three wild pitches, Hernandez came across with the tying run for a 5-5 game. However, Mieses prevented the River Bandis from taking the lead after third baseman Rio Ruiz singled and reached third base with one out in the eighth inning. Jochi Ogando (1-3) pitched the ninth.
After the Quad Cities bullpen worked 7 1/3 innings Wednesday, right-hander Andrew Walter made his Midwest League debut in the fifth inning to follow McCullers. Walter gave up three hits and a walk in three scoreless innings to keep the game tied. Right-hander Juan Minaya (1-6) walked the first batter of the eighth inning before getting the next three batters to strand the go-ahead run at third. But in the ninth, he allowed Marlette's two-out bases empty single, and Lara moved Marlette to third with his hit. After defensive indifference allowed Lara to take second, Ard hit a 3-2 pitch to right-center field for the game-winner.
The River Bandits, who are 11-5 against Clinton this season, conclude their season series with the LumberKings in Clinton at 7 p.m. Friday. River Bandits right-hander Chris Devenski (2-2) is scheduled to face LumberKings right-hander David Holman (2-6).