Special to the Herald
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Clinton LumberKings (3-5, 33-43) had no answers for Cedar Rapids Kernels (2-6, 33-45) pitchers Lewis Thorpe and Todd Van Steensel - both from Australia - in a 6-5 defeat Friday night at Perfect Game Field.
Cedar Rapids' lefty Thorpe (1-1) pitched effectively through 5.1 innings and only allowed two hits - both in the second inning - through the first four frames. He sat down the first five batters he faced before seeing Clinton's recently called up Isaiah Yates leave the yard with a solo blast. The homer ball put the L'Kings in front 1-0, but the Kernels scored six unanswered runs against Clinton southpaw Eddie Campbell.
The Kernels' Jon Murphy played long ball in the third inning, launching a solo blast to left. And Cedar Rapids was just getting started. They scored two more runs in the fourth thanks to three hits, the second being an RBI triple by Jason Kanzler. The center fielder trotted home moments later on a run-scoring single by Alex Swim.
Up 3-1, Cedar Rapids hammered Campbell (4-6) for another three runs in the fifth. Three more hits came in Campbell's worst frame. The rally began with a Bo Altobelli double and finished with an RBI double by Cedar Rapids native Chad Christensen.
Trailing by five, Clinton's comeback began right away in the top of the sixth. The LumberKings sent six men to the plate after three straight batters - Marcus Littlewood, Zach Shank, and Chantz Mack - all reached with only one out. The latter of the three benefitted from a tricky hop on a groundball to first which skipped over Altobelli at first base into right field, cutting the deficit to four, 6-2. Justin Seager then scored Shank on a sacrifice fly, making it 6-3 Kernels.
The LumberKings' best opportunity came in the eighth against Muren who could only record one out. Aaron Barbosa lined a double into the left-field corner and moved to third on Littlewood's second hit - a single to center. Shank plated Barbosa on a six-unassisted fielder's choice and eventually scored on a Swim passed ball which came on the back end of consecutive singles by Mack and Seager, pulling Clinton within one, 6-5. With runners at second and third and only one out, Yates and Corey Simpson both struck out, leaving the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
Van Steensel then finished off his seventh save with a 1-2-3 ninth, giving the Kernels their second win in the second half and also snapping a four-game skid in the process.
Martin Peguero hit an infield single to third in the seventh, extending his hitting streak to a season-high six games. Littlewood and Mack were the only LumberKings to record multi-hit games.
Campbell was charged with six earned runs on nine hits in 6.2 innings. The outing was the deepest Campbell had worked into a game this season.
Clinton and Cedar Rapids meet for the second game of their four-game series Saturday night at Perfect Game Field. The L'Kings will send right-hander Carlos Misell (6-7, 4.02) to the mound against Kernels right-hander Ryan Eades (4-7, 6.08). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.