Reaching the Midwest League playoffs for the first time since 2016, Clinton enters postseason play on a roll.
The LumberKings have gone a league-best 19-5 since ending a seven-game losing streak with a 4-2 win at Quad-Cities on August 9.
That late-season left Clinton one game behind second-half champion Kane County in the Western Division, pairing the LumberKings and Cougars in a best-of-three division semifinal series which begins with a 6:30 p.m. game at NelsonCorp Field today.
The second and, if necessary, third games of the series will be played at Kane County on Thursday and Friday.
The match-up pairs pitching staffs which finished 1-2 in the Midwest League in ERA.
Kane County finished the regular season at 81-58, helped by a league-low ERA of 2.84 while limiting opponents to a league-low 1.19 walks and hits per inning. Clinton finished with a 3.15 ERA, the second-best effort in a league dominated by pitching this season.
The Cougars are expected to send Levi Kelly (5-1, 2.15 ERA) to the mound tonight against the LumberKings, who will counter with Remy Reed (4-3, 3.28).
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Reed was named Tuesday as the Midwest League pitcher of the week.
Clinton, in its first season as a Marlins affiliate, has helped itself with improved performances at the plate.
That effort has been led by Peyton Burdick, named Monday as the Midwest League player of the month for August.
A third-round selection of Miami in this year’s draft out of Wright State, Burdick joined Clinton for the second half of the season and finished the year with a team-leading 59 RBI and sharing the team lead with 10 home runs.
In August, Burdick has hit .337 with six homers and 30 RBI to lead an offense which allowed Clinton to finish the regular season with a 78-61 record.
The LumberKings split 10 second-half games against Kane County and are 9-8 for the season against the Cougars.