The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

July 31, 2012

L'Kings' Kim struggles in 7-0 loss

CLINTON — Wisconsin picked up right where it left off Sunday.

The Timber Rattlers got a home run from Max Walla with one out in the top of the first, scored four in the third and on to beat the LumberKings 7-0 on Monday.

Wisconsin outscored Clinton 16-4 over the final two games of the series to give the first-place LumberKings their first series loss since July 11-13.

Walla struck against Clinton starter Seon-Gi Kim early, but Kim didn't help himself much later.

After retiring the first batter of the inning, Kim walked Chadwin Stang. He tried to pick Stang off first base, but threw the ball over first baseman Ji-Man Choi, allowing Stang to reach third.

Kim then walked Walla to put runners on the corners. The next batter Brandon Macias ripped a two-run double to center field.

After a second out, Nick Ramirez hit a two-run home run over the left-field fence to put Clinton in a five-run hole.

“Obviously, Kim struggled a little bit,” Clinton manager Eddie Menchaca said. “I think the biggest part was that four-run third inning.

“They had big hits early. I think it would have been different if that third inning is only one or two runs.”

Kim allowed five earned runs in three innings and dropped to 2-3 on the season, raising his ERA to 4.91.

Wisconsin starter Matthew Miller had no such trouble. He held the LumberKings to five hits in six innings, while not allowing a run and improved to 9-7. Miller is 4-0 against Clinton this year.

“He can pitch a little bit,” Menchaca said. “For sure, he’s got our number. It’s just tough to be behind and try to come back against a guy that’s got our number. He has all the confidence in the world.”

The LumberKings mounted a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. Chris Taylor led off the inning with an infield single, which Choi followed with a single of his own to put runners on first and second.

But Miller retired the next three batters to eliminate the threat.

In the top of the seventh with two outs, James Zamarripa singled to right and took second on an error. Patrick Brady hammered a 1-1 pitch down the left-field line and out of play, but the umpire called it foul. Brady flew out on the next pitch to end the inning.

“That’s just baseball,” Menchaca said.

Each team had seven hits and four walks. The LumberKings left 10 runners on base.

“The big difference was their hits were home runs and doubles and ours were singles,” Menchaca said.

Kyle Hunter was dominant in relief for the LumberKings. He pitched four perfect innings and struck out six.

“Hunter kept us in the game,” Menchaca said. “He put up zeros.”

The good news for Clinton (21-15) is it still retains sole possession of first place in the Western Division.

But the LumberKings are on the road for the next eight games and 14 of the next 17.

“I think it’s going to be huge,” Menchaca said. “We’re going to go on the road and try to play good baseball — good pitching, defense and timely hitting. If we come back 4-4, I think it’s good. But we’re capable of more. We’ve been playing much better in the second half on the road. We’re looking to win every game and go from there. We can’t be thinking about how we’re going to be in eight games. We’ve got to think about what we can do today to win a ball game.”

Clinton starts its road trip tonight at 6:35 p.m. in Cedar Rapids. Clinton sends right-hander Bobby Shore (2-2, 2.15) to the hill to faced right-hander Austin Wood (5-10, 4.56) of Cedar Rapids.

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