By John Bohnenkamp
Owen Oreskovich had to piece together a pitching plan on Sunday.
Four Burlington Bees pitchers combined to strand 17 Clinton LumberKings in a 12-9 win in the Prospect League game at Community Field.
The Bees (14-21 overall, 3-1 second half) got two home runs from Marcos Sanchez — a two-run homer in the fifth inning and a grand slam in the eighth — and had 17 hits.
But it was the way their pitching got out of numerous jams that proved to be the difference. That’s going to be important, considering that after Tuesday’s off day the Bees have just one day off the final three weeks of the season.
“We’re running a little bit low (on pitching) right now,” Oreskovich said. “We’re trying to save some guys so that you have guys that can pitch on different days.”
Starter Trevor McGee pitched four innings. Jeron Conner (1-0) and Weston Fulk pitched two scoreless innings. Jaxon Ingram pitched the ninth, when Clinton (17-19, 2-3) scored five runs to make the game close.
There was never a clean inning for the Bees, though. McGee stranded seven baserunners, Conner three and Fulk six when he got out of bases-loaded situations in the seventh and eighth.
“We got some big pitches in big situations with the bases loaded,” Oreskovich said.
Sanchez’s fifth-inning home run put the Bees in front, 5-4. Oscar Ponce had a three-run homer in the sixth, then Sanchez added his eighth-inning slam.
Sanchez came into the game batting .163 with one home run. He hit .286 with eight home runs last season.
“That’s the Marcos we saw last year,” Oreskovich said. “When he first got here, his timing wasn’t right. He was a little off. He would be asking me between every inning what was going on. I told him, ‘You’ve just got to feel it.’ He felt it today. He got some pitches to hit, and he didn’t miss them.”
Ponce went 4-for-5 and scored four runs. Sanchez scored three runs, as did Kevin Santiago.
ON DECK: The Bees conclude their four-game homestand with Monday’s 6:30 p.m. game against the Springfield Lucky Horseshoes.
Photo: Marcos Sanchez (15) is greeted at home plate by teammates Oscar Ponce (second from left), Kevin Santiago (second from right) and Jaden Hackbarth after his eighth-inning grand slam. (Steve Cirinna/Burlington Bees)