CLINTON — Add Braden Bishop’s name to the list of Clinton LumberKings who have homered this season.
Bishop hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning that put Clinton up 3-0 and eventually led the LumberKings to a 5-1 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Midwest League baseball Friday night at Ashford University Field.
The win put the LumberKings atop the Midwest League West Division by a half-game.
Kernels starter Sam Gibbons started the at-bat with a slider to the No. 7-ranked Mariners prospect by Baseball America. Bishop learned in last weekend’s series against the Kernels, that the breaking ball is followed by a fastball early in the count.
“I’m not going to say I was guessing, but I was sitting on a pitch in, and he threw it there,” Bishop said.
“It felt great. I’ve definitely been putting in a lot of work the past couple days cleaning up some things. I’m glad to come through in that situation.”
It was Bishop’s first homer as a LumberKing. He homered twice last season in Everett.
“It’s pretty cool to stay in line, and it didn’t look like he was trying to do that,” LumberKings Manager Mitch Canham said. “He was trying to hit the ball hard. And, he did.”
Conner Hale also had an RBI double in the sixth inning, then Bishop added another RBI on a groundout later in the sixth inning.
Nick Wells threw six innings and allowed one unearned run. He struck out four and walked two. Wells struck out five batters apiece in his first two starts.
Wells needed a good start to help negate his first two outings.
The No. 18 Mariners prospect by MLB Pipeline entered Friday’s game with the highest opponent’s batting average among all Clinton starters. He entered the game with two losses and a 12.96 ERA.
“It was a big day for Wells to get out there and really show a lot of growth,” Canham said. “It was a huge start for him. He looked extremely confident out there.”
Wells allowed 12 earned runs in his first two starts, but he didn’t walk a Kernels hitter last Saturday in Cedar Rapids. Wells entered last night’s game with 8 1/3 innings under his belt.
“He’s trending upward right now,” Canham said. “First start was rough, and second start he made some adjustments.”