CLINTON — The Clinton River Kings baseball team opened Mississippi Athletic Conference play with a bang Thursday night, pulling off a pair of come-from-behind wins over the Pleasant Valley Spartans at Alliant Energy Field.

Both games were very similar as Clinton got down 3-0 in each before storming back for a pair of 4-3 wins.

“These were some well-deserved wins,” Clinton coach Trent Snowden said. “We played fantastic baseball, especially late. We got great pitching and found ways to score. It was nice that when they made mistakes we capitalized.”

In the opener the River Kings (4-1, 2-0 MAC) trailed 3-0 entering the bottom of the fourth inning. Clinton scored once in that frame before erupting for three runs in the sixth.

After having their first nine hitters retired in order by Pleasant Valley pitcher Logan Frame the River Kings got their first baserunner when senior leadoff hitter David Lakin was hit by a pitch to start the fourth.

Junior Scott DeAngelis followed with a single to right. Senior No. 3 hitter Ryan Clausen sacrificed the runners ahead and when the throw to first got away Lakin raced around to score.

In the Clinton sixth DeAngelis started things with a one-out infield hit, moving to second on the play when the throw to first was off the mark.

Clausen then banged in RBI double to deep left. Senior courtesy runner Nich Powell replaced Clausen on the bases. He moved to third on a groundout by sophomore Darryl Sexton and scored the tying run on senior Ryan Hovey’s two-out single to right.

Hovey stole second before freshman Jake Mangler stroked an RBI single to center, plating Hovey with the game-winning run.

“I had two strikes on me. I was just trying to protect,” Mangler said. “We got good pitching all night and a couple big hits. It was really important to get a good start in the conference.”

Sexton, a nifty left-hander, was the River Kings’ starting pitcher. He worked six solid innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits.

Sexton gave way to Hovey after walking the leadoff hitter in the seventh inning and going to a 2-1 count on the following batter.

Hovey proceeded to walk PV leadoff man Nathan Schlicking, putting runners at first and second with nobody out and the Spartans’ 2, 3 and 4 hitters coming up.

A bunt moved the runners to second and third before Hovey struck out Frame and Jayce Wallin to end the game in dramatic fashion.

Clinton out-hit PV 6-5 in the game. Clausen’s double was the only extra-base hit.

Game 2 saw the Kings again down 3-0, this time entering the bottom of the fifth.

Clinton pulled even with three unearned runs in the fifth and won it with another unearned tally in the sixth.

Junior Jordan Camp led off the River King fifth by reaching second on a dropped fly ball. With one out No. 9 hitter, junior Drew Matzen, singled to left as Camp moved to third.

Camp scored on a groundout by Lakin that also moved Matzen to second. DeAngelis plated Matzen with a single to left. DeAngelis took second on a wild pitch before Clausen tied the game with an RBI double to deep center.

The Kings took advantage of another PV mistake in the sixth. Hovey reached on an error to start the inning. Mangler sacrificed him to second. Camp then singled to left, moving Hovey to third.

Sophomore Shawn Winoski followed with the game-winning RBI single to left.

“This was pretty sweet. We’ve been playing hard,” Winoski said. “This was a good experience to get down and come back. It’s a good feeling. We always kept our heads up, even when we were down. Our pitchers did a great job. I think this shows that we can compete with anybody in the MAC.”

Clinton again got strong pitching as Hovey, Mangler and senior Curtis Howard combined to scatter seven hits. Hovey worked the first three innings, allowing a run on two hits. Mangler allowed two runs on three hits in two innings before Howard came on to get the win in relief, hurling two shutout innings.

PV had the tying run at third in the sixth and at second in the seventh, but Howard got strikeouts to end both frames. He ended the game by striking out PV’s No. 4 hitter Matt Conway.

The Kings have another MAC doubleheader at home Monday when they host Muscatine at 5 p.m.

Game 1

Score by Innings

Pleasant Valley 100 200 0 — 3 5 2

Clinton 000 103 x — 4 6 1

Frame and DePover. Darryl Sexton, Ryan Hovey (7) and Ryan Clausen.

Two or more hits—Clinton, Scott DeAngelis, Jake Mangler. 2B—Clinton, Clausen. RBI—PV, Schlicking, Weiss; Clinton, Clausen, Hovey, Mangler.

Game 2

Score by Innings

Pleasant Valley 001 020 0 — 3 7 3

Clinton 000 031 x — 4 6 0

Weiss, Sandry (5) and DePover. Hovey, Mangler (4), Curtis Howard (6) and Clausen, Drew Matzen (4), Shawn Winoski (6).

Two or more hits—PV, Frame, Brom; Clinton, Jordan Camp. 2B—Clinton, Clausen. 3B—PV, DePover, Frame. RBI—PV, Schickling, Frame, Conway; Clinton, David Lakin, DeAngelis, Clausen, Winoski.

Records—Pleasant Valley 0-2 Mississippi Athletic Conference; Clinton 4-1, 2-0. Next—Muscatine at Clinton (DH), 5 p.m. Monday.