CLINTON — Just four games into its Mississippi Athletic Conference schedule the Clinton River Kings baseball team has already surpassed its conference win total from a year ago.

Clinton, which finished just 3-15 in the MAC last season, has begun its 2007 conference campaign with four straight wins and has won six straight after a season-opening loss to West Delaware.

Monday, the River Kings swept past the Muscatine Muskies, winning by scores of 5-3 and 8-3 in a doubleheader at Alliant Energy Field.

“We were confident coming into the season,” Clinton senior Ryan Clausen said. “So far we’re playing really well as a team. But, we have to stay level-headed.

“We can’t let our heads get to big. We have to stay consistent. Starting off with two sweeps in the conference is really good momentum for us. It seems like things are clicking.”

Clinton again got strong pitching, allowing just two earned runs on the day. The River Kings also piled up 23 hits, 12 in the first game and 11 more in the second.

In the opener Clinton rode a solid pitching performance by senior Curtis Howard and a balanced offensive attack. Howard worked 6 1/3 impressive innings for the win. He allowed three runs, two earned, on nine hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Senior Ryan Hovey closed the game, coming on with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh. With two outs a walk loaded the bases before Hovey struck out Brandon Nau to end the game.

After earning a pair of come-from-behind wins over Pleasant Valley last Thursday, the River Kings showed their ability to come back again as they overcame an early 3-1 deficit.

Clinton struck first with a run in the first. With one out junior Scott DeAngelis belted a triple to right-center. Clausen drew a walk before senior David Lakin plated DeAngelis with an infield hit.

Muscatine grabbed a 3-1 lead with a three-run second inning, getting three hits and taking advantage of two River Kings errors in the frame.

Clinton had a three-run inning of its own in the third. Clausen led off with a single to left. With one out Hovey singled to center.

Sophomore Darryl Sexton then reached on a fielder’s choice as Hovey was forced out at second. Sophomore Shawn Winoski then blooped an RBI infield hit between the pitcher’s mound and third base.

Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, junior Drew Matzen and Howard, followed with consecutive RBI singles to left, giving the River Kings a 4-3 edge.

The Muskies loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on walk, an infield hit and an error, but Howard worked out of the jam by getting No. 3 hitter Brance Rivera to popout.

Clinton tacked on an insurance run in the sixth. With one out Clausen singled to center. He moved to second on a wild pitch and two third on a groundout by Lakin. Hovey, who was 3-for-4 in the game, then stroked an RBI single to right.

In Game 2 Sexton was outstanding on the mound, striking out 10 and not allowing an earned run in a complete game effort. The left-hander yielded five hits and walked four.

“I felt pretty good,” Sexton said. “My arm got sore a little bit in the later innings, but it felt good to close it out. I felt real comfortable with all my pitches. I just kept wanting to get back on the rubber and pitch.”

Sexton got plenty of offensive support as the Kings built a 5-0 lead after three innings with a two-run first and a three-run third.

Freshman Jacob Mangler led off the bottom of the second with a double to left-center. DeAngelis, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the game, followed with an RBI single to right.

Clausen and Lakin drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Hovey made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.

Clausen belted a double off the wall just to the left of straight-away center field. Lakin drew a walk before Hovey flew out to right, moving Clausen to third.

Lakin took second on a delayed steal. Both runners scored when Sexton’s fly ball to center was dropped. Junior Jordan Camp followed with an RBI single to left, making it 5-0.

Clinton lost out on a would-be run in the fourth when Mangler, who had single with one out, scored on a double by DeAngelis. Mangler was ruled out, however, for apparently missing third base.

Muscatine scored an unearned run in the fifth before the Kings built an 8-1 advantage with a run in the bottom of the fifth and two more runs in the sixth.

In the Clinton fifth Lakin, who drew three walks in the game, and Hovey worked consecutive walks to start the inning. With two outs Winoski cracked an RBI double down the left-field line.

Mangler, who was 3-for-4 in the game, started the River King sixth with a single to center. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a looping single to right by DeAngelis.

Clausen followed with an RBI single to right. Lakin reached on a fielder’s choice when his bunt resulted in DeAngelis being forced out at third. With two outs Sexton cracked an RBI single to center.

The Muskies scored two unearned runs in the seventh before Sexton finished the game with his 10th strikeout.

“I can’t remember when we’ve had this good of pitching,” Snowden said. “At times we’ve been overpowering. Our hitting was good too and for the most part we’re making the routine plays. When those things keep happening usually you’re going to be in games. There’s not much to complain about right now.

“Darryl had the hitters kind of baffled. He established his curveball and had them guessing. He was pretty overpowering at times. And, Curtis has really done a great job. We were really hoping he would come on a senior, and so far he’s really done a great job for us. He’s been very consistent. He’s throwing strikes. I’ve been very happy with him.”

Clinton will be back in action at Alliant Energy Field tonight when it hosts two varsity games against two different opponents. The Kings will face Durant at 5 p.m. and Andrew at approximately 7 p.m.

Game 1

Score by Innings

Muscatine 030 000 0 — 3 9 2

Clinton 103 001 x — 5 12 3

Edkin and Flickinger. Curtis Howard, Ryan Hovey (7) and Drew Matzen.

Two or more hits—Muscatine, Hetzler 3, Finley, Failor; Clinton, Ryan Clausen, David Lakin, Hovey 3, Shawn Winoski. 2B—Muscatine, Finley; Clinton, Winoski. 3B—Muscatine, Witherow; Clinton, Scott DeAngelis. RBI—Muscatine, Witherow, Nau; Clinton, Lakin, Hovey, Winoski, Matzen, Howard.

Game 2

Score by Innings

Muscatine 000 010 2 — 3 5 0

Clinton 203 012 x — 8 11 2

Flickinger, Schultz (6) and VanderLinden. Darryl Sexton and Winoski.

Two or more hits—Muscatine, Hetzler; Clinton, Jacob Mangler 3, DeAngelis 3, Clausen. 2B—Muscatine, Witherow; Clinton, Mangler, Clausen, DeAngelis, Winoski. RBI—Clinton, DeAngelis, Clausen, Hovey, Sexton, Jordan Camp, Winoski.

Records—Muscatine 0-2 Mississippi Athletic Conference; Clinton 6-1, 4-0. Next—Durant at Clinton, 5 p.m. today; Andrew at Clinton, approximately 7 p.m. today.