Clinton right-hander Taijuan Walker scattered four hits over five scoreless innings and relievers Ryan Kiel and Tyler Burgoon finished the shutout as the LumberKings defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 2-0 on Wednesday.
Mickey Wiswall’s two-out RBI single in the third inning proved to be enough for the victory.
Walker (6-5) allowed three of the four hits in a rocky first inning. Travis Witherspoon reached on a bunt single up the first-base line to start the game, but was picked off by Walker. Still, the Kernels would threaten as Rolando Gomez lined a single to right and Jeremy Cruz singled up the middle, but Walker induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Jeremy Cruz.
The LumberKings’ offense supported Walker with a run in the third inning as Julio Morban singled to right, moved around the bases on a pair of groundouts and scored as Wiswall lined a single into shallow left. An inning later, Anthony Phillips ripped a solo home run just inside the left-field foul pole to make it 2-0. Kernels’ right-hander Justin La Tempa (2-7), allowed both runs on six hits over four innings.
Mike McGee and Morban each singled after the Phillips blast and McGee nearly scored as Kevin Rivers’ pop-up fell to the turf between Kernels’ third-baseman Bryan Hernandez and La Tempa, but Rivers was still thrown out at first by Hernandez, ending the inning.
Kiel came on in the sixth and retired all nine batters he faced, striking out three. Burgoon retired all the batters he faced in the ninth, striking out Gomez to secure his first save since July 25 and 11th of the season.
With the win, Walker is now 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 16 innings in three starts against Cedar Rapids. Morban finished 2 for 3 with a run scored to lead the offense, while Wiswall went 1 for 3 with an RBI and Phillips added his fourth home run, going 1-for-4.
Gomez went 2 for 4 with a single and a double for the Kernels.
The LumberKings (24-21) continue the series with the Kernels (18-27) tonight Alliant Energy Field, first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Left-hander Tony Butler (1-2, 3.26 ERA) makes the start for Clinton against Cedar Rapids’ right-hander A.J. Schugel (3-3, 2.77).
For more coverage of the Clinton LumberKings, pick up a copy of today's Herald.