Clinton, IA - High winds resulted in a high number of runs - for the visiting team - Sunday afternoon at Ashford University Field. The Clinton LumberKings (9-12) dropped their fifth straight game and were swept by the Cedar Rapids Kernels (12-10) by a 12-1 margin in front of an announced 4,745 fans.
Cedar Rapids jumped in front with two runs in the top of the first, thanks to three walks issued by LumberKings right-hander Edwin Diaz. After two walks beginning the frame, Chad Christensen drove a 3-1 fastball past Justin Seager at first into right field, scoring Joel Licon. Mitch Garver followed with an RBI infield single to third. One out later, Diaz walked Ivory Thomas but left the bases loaded with a strikeout and groundout.
Two runs proved to be enough for Cedar Rapids right-hander Aaron Slegers. The former Indiana Hoosiers' only blemish of a seven-inning performance was a wind-aided solo shot off the bat of Burt Reynolds in the second.
Meanwhile, Diaz sat down the Kernels in order in the second, but ran into trouble again in the third. Two more walks plagued the right-hander before Bryan Santy blooped a 2-run single between Zach Shank and Corey Simpson in right. Diaz settled down again in the fourth with his team down 4-1, getting back-to-back swinging strikeouts. The Puerto Rico native departed, however, and handed over to Ramire Cleto who did not fare much better. The first three batters reached against Cleto with two outs in the fourth, putting Cedar Rapids up 6-1.
Down by five, the L'Kings bats went 1-2-3 in the fourth and began a stretch of 15 consecutive men retired between Slegers and right-hander Todd Van Steensel. The latter beaned Clinton's Simpson with two outs in the eighth ending the miserable stretch which saw the LumberKings strike out eight times.
While Clinton's offense was scuffling, the Kernels added six more runs before the game went final. Cedar Rapids tacked three runs on in the sixth against Cleto and roughed up Rafael Pineda in the ninth for three more runs. Pineda served up a 2-run shot to Thomas during his one inning pitched.
Diaz (1-1, 2.78) took the loss while Slegers (2-0, 3.14) picked up his second win in five starts for Cedar Rapids.
Marcus Littlewood and Austin Wilson both went 2-for-4. Littlewood collected his team high fifth double in the third.
The loss was Clinton's fifth straight - a season high - and the L'Kings were fortunate to win one of six during the home stand. Before the six-game stretch began, Clinton's team ERA was at 2.80. After Sunday's final, it broke four at 4.12. The LumberKings were outscored 49-18 during the six-game home stand and outhit 82-39 by the Quad Cities River Bandits and Kernels combined.
Clinton gets two shots to snap their season high five-game skid with a doubleheader in Quad Cities beginning Monday night at 6:00 p.m. Left-hander Eddie Campbell (1-1, 3.06) takes the ball in game one and righty Tommy Burns (0-2, 12.00) is set to make a spot start for the L'Kings in game two at Modern Woodmen Park. The two teams will play five games in four days, before Clinton continues the 11-game road trip with three in Wisconsin and three in Burlington.