Saturday’s weather was cooperative after wet conditions pushed back the Clinton Lumberkings 2013 home opener for two days. The Cedar Rapids Kernels weren’t so forgiving, though, sweeping the LumberKings 4-3 and 3-2 in a Midwest League baseball doubleheader.
Finally getting a nice day for baseball Sunday, the LumberKings claimed the first home win of the year and earned a split in another doubleheader with the Kernels at Ashford University Field. The LumberKings won the opener 3-2 but lost the second game 7-6.
The Kernels set the tone early Sunday with five straight hits to open the top of the first inning.
But, although it took awhile, the LumberKings finally got things going.
On offense, the Lumberkings were faced with the challenge of piercing the armor of Kernels starter Tyler Duffy, who in his first start threw seven perfect innings against Beloit. In the second, Clinton made a dent with the first baserunner against Duffy this season when Patrick Kivlehan’s patience drew him a walk. But a ground ball up the middle by Gaby Guerrero on a hit-and-run handed the double play right to the Kernels.
Clinton finally got to Duffy in the fourth inning and later ran him from the mound in the sixth inning when it took the lead.
Dario Pizzano broke up the hitless streak that Duffy had going with a leadoff single into left in the bottom of the fourth inning. Guillermo Pimentel quickly followed with a home run down the right-field line, breaking his personal slump of seven straight strikeouts against the Kernels.
In the sixth, the Kings chased Duffy with two two-out hits, putting runners on first and third with Taylor Ard coming to bat. Ard had ripped Duffy’s previous two offerings for outs, but Cedar Rapids pulled Duffy for Matt Tomshaw, who quickly gave up an RBI single to Ard, giving the Lumberkings the 3-2 lead.