CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings opened the Midwest League’s second half with a rain-shortened 3-0 win over the Kane County Cougars before a huge crowd of 4,939 on Thrivent Financial Night at Alliant Energy Field Thursday night.

The game was called off after an hour-and-10-minute delay with a run in, two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Clinton left-hander Mike Ballard worked a shortened complete-game shutout for his ninth win. Ballard (9-4) scattered four hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter.

The game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when the L-Kings pushed two runs across. Leadoff man Marcus Lemon opened the inning with an infield hit on a slow roller to second.

Jose Vallejo followed with a beautiful bunt hit down the third-base line. Vallejo and Lemon moved to second and third on a wild pitch.

With one out RBI machine Chad Tracy belted a two-run double to the left-center field gap, giving Clinton a 2-0 lead.

The L-Kings had a chance for more in the inning as K.C. Herren was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second, still with just one out.

But, Kane County pitcher Andrew Bailey (1-4) struck out Mauro Gomez and Jay Heafner to end the inning.

The Cougars threatened in the fifth. With one out Sammy Hernandez and Gustavo Rosendo each singled. They moved to second and third on a groundout, but were left stranded when Ballard struck out No. 9 hitter Alex Valdez to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth Clinton’s No. 9 hitter David Paisano drew a one-out walk, stole second and moved to third on a passed ball.

Lemon followed with another walk. Bailey made a few pickoff throws to first and faked pickoff throws to third and first. He made another pickoff throw to first and Paisano broke from third for the plate.

Kane County first baseman Haas Pratt fired to Rosendo, the catcher, but the throw got away for an error as Paisano stole home to make it 3-0.

Lemon moved to second on the errant throw. With two outs John Whittleman walked before the game was halted.

The teams will meet in the second game of the four-game series tonight at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game will also begin at 7 p.m. while Sunday’s series finale is set for 2 p.m.

LUMBERKINGS 3, COUGARS 0

KANE COUNTY CLINTON

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Massaro cf 2 0 0 0 Lemon ss 2 1 1 0

Cobb 2b 2 0 0 0 Vallejo 2b 3 1 2 0

Mitchell rf 2 0 0 0 Whitlmn 3b 2 0 0 0

Dowling dh 2 0 0 0 Tracy lf 2 0 1 2

Pratt 1b 2 0 1 0 Herren rf 1 0 0 0

Hernandz 3b 2 0 1 0 Gomez 1b 2 0 0 0

Rosendo c 2 0 1 0 Heafner dh 2 0 0 0

Johnson lf 2 0 0 0 Pina c 2 0 0 0

Valdez ss 2 0 1 0 Paisano cf 1 1 0 0

Totals 18 0 4 0 Totals 17 3 4 2



Kane County 000 00 —0

Clinton 000 21 —3

Game called off with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the fifth inning due to rain.

E—Pratt. DP—Kane County 1. LOB—Kane County 3, Clinton 4. 2B—Pratt, Tracy. SB—Paisano 2 (7). CS—Massaro.

IP H R ER BB SO

Kane County

Bailey L,1-4 4 2/3 4 3 3 4 3

Clinton

Ballard W,9-4 5 4 0 0 0 5

WP—Bailey. PB—Rosendo. Umpires—Joel Hospodka (plate), Scott Mahoney (bases). Time—1:36. Attendance—4,939.