CEDAR RAPIDS — A resurgent Jon Hesketh struck out a season-high nine batters over five scoreless innings Tuesday night as the Clinton LumberKings opened a seven-game road trip with a 5-0 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Perfect Game Field. Hesketh (2-1) won his second consecutive start, scattering three hits over his five innings. Since giving up nine runs April 16 against Quad Cities to see his ERA rise to 17.18, the left-hander has allowed just one run over his past 10 innings to lower his ERA to 7.79. It was a big night for Clinton pitching. Three hurlers combined for 16 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter in the shutout. The LumberKings backed him with a run in the fourth as Nick Franklin reached on a single to right and scored on a two-out double by Vinnie Catricala that landed just inside the right-field foul line. Clinton struck for three more runs against Kernels right-hander Orangel Arenas in the fifth as James Jones tripled and scored on Steven Baron’s single over the drawn-in infield and Franklin knocked home a pair with an infield single up the middle. Baron added a sacrifice fly to score Jones again in the ninth for insurance. After Hesketh’s exit, right-hander Chris Kirkland continued the Kernels’ frustrations. Kirkland struck out five and did not allow a baserunner over three innings. Closer Brandon Josselyn yielded a hit but struck out two in a non-save ninth, finishing off the first shutout win for the LumberKings this season. Daniel Carroll and Franklin each went 2-for-4 atop the Clinton order. Baron finished 1-for-3 with the two RBIs. The LumberKings (9-10) continue the series against the Kernels (8-11) at 6:35 tonight at Perfect Game Field. Right-hander Taylor Stanton (1-1 will make his fourth start of the season for Clinton. Box score/2B
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