Burlington, IA - For the first time since the 2009 opener, the Clinton LumberKings won on Opening Day. Backed by an electric team pitching performance and a timely rally, Clinton beat Burlington 4-2 at Community Field on Thursday night.
Stephen Landazuri took the ball for the LumberKings in the 2013 opener and dodged major trouble in four innings of work. The lone run Landazuri allowed was unearned when a two-out error allowed Chevy Clarke to score the first run of the game in the bottom of the second, giving Burlington a 1-0 lead.
Burlington hurler Brandon Love was rolling when he hit a wall in the top of the sixth inning. Consecutive singles by Ketel Marte, Dario Pizzano and Guillermo Pimentel knotted the score at 1-1. After Patrick Kivlehan walked, Taylor Ard brought home another run with a fielder's choice. Jabari Henry walked to load the bases for Catcher Tyler Marlette who delivered two runs with a bloop single to right, giving Clinton a 4-1 lead.
From there, the LumberKings bullpen took over. Jeremy Dobbs came on for Landazuri and threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Right-hander Dominic Leone followed with two innings of his own. Another unearned run in the seventh trimmed the lead in half to 4-2 but that's as close as Burlington would get. Leone struck out five over his two frames before handing the ball to Grady Wood for the ninth.
Wood struck out Sherman Johnson to start the ninth but then allowed a single to Kyle Johnson. The right-hander retired Anthony Bemboom for the second out then walked Wade Hinkle to put runners at first and second. With two outs and a 4-2 lead, Wood got third baseman Michael Bolaski to bounce to Kivlehan who stepped on third for the final out.
Dobbs picked up the win and Wood earned the LumberKings' first save of 2013. Love was charged with four earned runs and the loss in five-plus innings.
On Friday, the LumberKings send left-hander Scott DeCecco to the mound in game two of the series against Bees right-hander Reid Scroggins. First pitch from Community Field is set for 6:30 CT.