CEDAR RAPIDS — Clinton is back on a roll as the Midwest League regular season comes to and end.
The LumberKings beat Cedar Rapids 8-5 on Saturday night and 5-0 on Sunday afternoon at Perfect Game Field for their 85th and 86th wins of the season. The regular season ends today with a 12:05 p.m. game at Cedar Rapids, then after a day off, Clinton will host Peoria in Game 1 of the playoffs Wednesday.
Rayder Ascanio hit his second homer of the season off Sam Gibbons in the fifth inning for a three-run shot that put the LumberKings up 4-0 on Sunday.
Gus Craig led off the scoring in the fourth inning with an RBI single that drove in Luis Liberato.
Then, in the seventh inning, Dalton Kelly singled on a ground ball to right field, and that scored Ascanio. Kevin Garcia, who got a win as the Kernels’ pitcher on Friday night, was charged with a throwing error.
Pablo Lopez went seven strong innings to pick up his seventh win. He allowed nine hits, but he, as well as the LumberKings’ bullpen, did not allow a walk. Lopez threw 86 pitches. Ronald Dominguez and Matt Walker finished the game, and both men threw an inning apiece.
Gibbons allowed three earned runs on eight hits, and walked two.
The LumberKings got to work right away Saturday against Kernels starter Brady Anderson (3-1), who shut them out the last time he faced them.
Chris Mariscal started the game with a single to left. Liberato then placed down a bunt with the intent to sacrifice but beat out the throw to first. Anderson’s throw was wide of first baseman Zander Wiel and ricocheted down into the Kernels bullpen. It moved Mariscal to third and Liberato to second. Kelly then grounded out to second, but it scored Mariscal and advanced Liberato to third, giving the LumberKings an early 1-0 lead.
Logan Taylor then smashed a grounder straight down the third-base line, going into the left-field corner for a double and bringing home Liberato to make it 2-0. Alex Jackson then smoked a one-hopper that went over the head of third baseman Nelson Molina and into the left-field corner, also going for a double and scoring Taylor, extending the lead to 3-0.
Luiz Gohara (5-2) was in and out of trouble early but pitched his way out of each jam.
Clinton added to its lead in the fifth on a Taylor triple and Jackson RBI single. An inning later, Craig singled and scored on Ascanio’s triple, then Ascanio scored on Mariscal’s sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.
The Kernels got on the board in the seventh on a J.J. Fernandez three-run homer. The LumberKings got two runs back in the top of the eighth on a pair of two-out doubles from Ascanio and Liberato, but the Kernels respondeded with a two-run homer from Wiel in the bottom of the eighth for the final margin.