CLINTON — The fifth-ranked Clinton River Kings baseball team split a crucial Mississippi Athletic Conference doubleheader with the sixth-ranked Burlington Grayhounds in a battle between the league’s top two teams at Alliant Energy Field Friday night.

Burlington won the opener 5-3, but Clinton bounced back for a 7-3 win in Game 2. The River Kings are 20-5 overall and 9-3 in the MAC. The split put the Grayhounds at 23-6 overall and 10-4 in the league.

Clinton is alone atop the conference. Burlington is tied for second with Bettendorf and Davenport Central, all at 10-4 in the league.

“We were excited because we didn’t lose any more ground,” Clinton coach Trent Snowden said. “We control our own destiny.”

The River Kings rode a five-run sixth inning to their win. Clinton took a 2-0 lead with two runs in the third inning.

The Grayhounds worked ahead 3-2 with a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth before the Kings took control.

Jordan Camp started Clinton’s big sixth inning with a walk. He later scored on a single by Drew Matzen. After Darryl Sexton walked Scott DeAngelis, Ryan Hovey and Ryan Clausen followed with three straight RBI singles. Two batters later Jacob Mangler wrapped an RBI single to make it 7-3.

River King pitchers Curtis Howard, Blake Pennock and Hovey combined on a four-hitter. Howard was the starter. Pennock, an eighth-grader, came on in the sixth and got the win. Hovey entered in the seventh and closed things out.

Clausen, DeAngelis and David Lakin had three hits apiece in the game.

Trailing 4-3 in the opener Clinton had an opportunity slip away in the bottom of the fourth when Camp singled up the middle but the ball hit Mangler as he was rounding second. Mangler was ruled out, negating the tying run from scoring.

“We had an unfortunate play when Jake Mangler got hit by the ball with the bases loaded to end the inning,” Snowden said. “We played good enough to win the first game, but the ball didn’t bounce our way. We got good pitching performances from Curtis Howard, Blake Pennock and Ryan Hovey in the second game.”

The Kings scored first with a run in the first inning. Burlington went up 3-1 with a three-run second inning before Clinton pulled even with two runs in the fourth inning. The Grayhounds scored once in both the fifth and sixth innings to go up 5-3.

Clinton will face another ranked MAC foe today when its visits No. 3 Davenport Central at 5 p.m. for a doubleheader.

“If we can split with Central and sweep Davenport West and Davenport North we should be in good shape,” Snowden said.

Game 1

Score by Innings

Burlington 030 011 0 — 5 11 1

Clinton 100 200 0 — 3 6 0

Werner, D. Glasgow (5) and Miller. Ryan Hovey, Darryl Sexton (3) and Shawn Winoski.

Two or more hits—Burlington, Caffrey, Peterson, Whitmore; Clinton, Jordan Camp. 2B—Burlington, Glasgow, Duke. 3B—Burlington, Gustafson. HR—Burlington, Whitmore. RBI—Burlington, D. Glasgow, Caffrey, Whitmore, Z. Glasgow; Clinton, David Lakin, Jacob Mangler, Camp.

Game 2

Score by Innings

Burlington 000 102 0 — 3 4 1

Clinton 002 005 x — 7 14 4

Gustafson, D. Glasgow (4), Peterson (6), D. Glasgow (7) and Caffrey. Curtis Howard, Blake Pennock (6), Hovey (7) and Winoski.

Two or more hits—Burlington, Peterson; Clinton, Scott DeAngelis 3, Ryan Clausen 3, Lakin 3, Mangler. 2B—Clinton, Clausen. 3B—Burlington, Werner; Clinton, DeAngelis. RBI—Burlington, Duke 2; Clinton, Hovey 2, DeAngelis, Clausen, Lakin, Mangler, Drew Matzen.

Records—Burlington 23-6, 10-4 Mississippi Athletic Conference; Clinton 20-5, 9-3. Next—Clinton at Davenport Central (DH), 5 p.m. today.

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