Clinton, IA - The LumberKings' home opener did not go as planned. Weather postponed the opening game at Ashford University Field on both Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, Clinton dropped both games in the doubleheader to Cedar Rapids, both by a single run.
The LumberKings lost game one, 4-3. Clinton scored two runs in the first inning to take an early lead on a Patrick Kivlehan two-run home run. However, Cedar Rapids used a four-run fourth inning to go on top. The Kernels took advantage of several walks from LumberKings' starter Matt Anderson and reliever Dominic Leone to take a 4-2 lead after four innings.
Clinton got one back in the fifth inning after Taylor Ard doubled to lead off the inning. Ard advanced to third on a groundout then Tim Lopes drove home the run on a sacrifice fly to right field. The LumberKings could not even the score in the sixth inning despite getting the tying run to third base. Dario Pizzano was tagged out at home trying to score on a grounder to third base, eliminating the LumberKings' best chance to tie the game.
In the nightcap, the LumberKings again dropped a one-run game, this time by the final score of 2-1. The Kernels opened up with a two-run first inning. Tyler Pike issued walks to the first two batters of the game, and Cedar Rapids took advantage. Jorge Polanco started the scoring with an RBI single to score Byron Buxton, and then Dalton Hicks followed with an RBI double to bring the score to 2-0.
Clinton got on the board in the bottom of the first, showcasing the team's power bats throughout the lineup. Jabari Henry blasted a solo shot to lead off the first, giving the team a league-high nine homeruns on the season and their first lead-off homer.
The LumberKings failed to score again with their best chance coming in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jordy Lara reached on a throwing error by Kernels' SS Niko Goodrum. After a single by Tim Lopes, Clinton got the tying run to third base. Cedar Rapids' reliever Steve Gruver got back-to-back strikeouts of Carlton Tanabe and Brock Hebert to end the game and hand the LumberKings a 2-1 defeat.
The LumberKings have another doubleheader on Sunday at Ashford University Field. Clinton will send right-hander Dylan Unsworth to the mound for Game 1, while Cedar Rapids counters with right-hander Tyler Duffey. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 PM CT.