Special to the Herald
CLINTON – A day after clinching a playoff spot in the Midwest League's Western Division, the Clinton LumberKings were shut down by the first-place Cedar Rapids Kernels on Saturday night as they opened their final home series of the regular season.
Tim Shibuya hurled a complete game shutout for Cedar Rapids, limiting Clinton to four hits in the 5-0 victory at Ashford University Field.
Cedar Rapids scored in the first inning and never looked back. Jonathan Murphy and Tyler Grimes led off the contest with back-to-back singles off David Holman. After a fielder’s choice, Max Kepler broke the ice with a sacrifice fly to give Cedar Rapids a 1-0 lead.
Shibuya cruised throughout the evening for the Kernels. After Dario Pizzano’s single in the first inning, Shibuya retired the next 16 batters until the seventh inning.
The Kernels added single tallies in the third and fourth to push their lead to 3-0. Grimes delivered an RBI single to score Jonathan Murphy in the third. In the next inning, Mike Gonzales launched a mammoth solo home run to right-center.
Bo Altobelli tacked on another run for Cedar Rapids with an RBI single off Holman in the sixth inning. The Kernels made it 5-0 with a run in the ninth inning. Travis Harrison came across on a throwing error by first baseman Taylor Ard, scoring an unearned run off Jochi Ogando.
Holman was saddled with another loss despite a strong outing. He matched his career-high with eight innings worked.
The LumberKings and Kernels squared off in Game 2 on Sunday afternoon and complete the regular season with a 2 p.m. game today.