Clinton, IA - The final home game of the 2014 season for the Clinton LumberKings ended much like the home campaign started, on the wrong end of a close game. With an opportunity to finish off the season with a sweep, Clinton (31-39, 61-77) dropped the series finale to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 3-1.
In his final start of the season, Carlos Misell (8-12) struggled over three innings. The righty gave up six hits and walked two in the loss. Jonatan Hinojosa singled on the first pitch of the game, and after a sacrifice bunt, stole third base. Chad Christensen then walked, and with men on first and second, he was thrown out stealing second, while Hinojosa scored on the throw.
Ahead 1-0 in the third, the Kernels (42-28, 73-67) sent eight men to the plate. Though Misell struck out the side, he allowed three hits, walked one, and hit a batter in a two-run inning. Alex Swim drove home Engelb Vielma with a hit on a two-strike pitch, while Max Murphy walked with the bases loaded.
The Clinton offense managed very little vs. righty Ryan Eades (10-11). The Cedar Rapids starter allowed only three hits and one run over seven innings, as he had his best of four starts vs. the LumberKings. The lone blemish on Eades' line occurred in the fifth, as a Nelson Ward leadoff triple and RBI groundout by Christian Carmichael brought Clinton within two.
Eades worked around a leadoff single to Justin Seager with a double play in the seventh, as he and the Kernels bullpen faced the minimum over the final three innings. Hudson Boyd retired the side in order in the eighth, and Jake Reed (SV, 5) induced ground ball outs from the top three in the Clinton order to close out the 3-1 Cedar Rapids win.
In relief of Misell, Kevin McCoy and Aaron Brooks each pitched three no-hit innings. Clinton recorded just three hits in the game, singles by Joe DeCarlo and Seager, and the triple by Ward. Vielma (1-3) ended the season on an eight game hit streak, while J.D. Williams (2-4) finished with hits in seven consecutive games.
With the top seed in the second half, Cedar Rapids will begin the Midwest league playoffs Wednesday vs. the Burlington Bees. Clinton finished the second half 14-21 at home, and the full season 27-41 at Ashford University Field. The 2015 Clinton LumberKings season will begin April 9th at home vs. the Beloit Snappers.