Cedar Rapids, IA - A new month, a fresh start, and history was made Friday night, as the Clinton LumberKings (9-13) no-hit the hometown Cedar Rapids Kernels (12-10) in the series opener at Perfect Game Field. Three Clinton pitchers allowed a total of two men to reach base successfully in the 2-0 win, neither man advanced past first base.
In his fifth start of the season, righty Daniel Missaki (W, 1-1) dazzled over seven no-hit innings. The Brazilian retired the first 20 batters he faced, and only a two-out walk to Trey Vavra kept him from perfection. Missaki matched a season high with seven strikeouts and walked only one in his best start of the season.
Entering the game as the top ranked pitching staff in the league, based on ERA and runs allowed per game, Cedar Rapids continued with another strong outing, this time from lefty Stephen Gonsalves (L, 2-1). But the former fourth round pick matched the total number of runs he allowed over his first three starts in just one inning, the fifth, Friday night.
Though the LumberKings managed just five hits in the game, three of them came in a span of four hitters to begin the fifth inning. Estarlyn Morales started the frame with a home run to left field, his second of the season. After a single by Chantz Mack and a sacrifice bunt by Adam Martin, Kristian Brito drove home Mack with an RBI double to left field, as Clinton led 2-0 after 4.5 innings.
After seven innings, Clinton manager Scott Steinmann went to his bullpen for what proved to be the final two innings of the 23rd no-hitter in Clinton franchise history. After he came off of the disabled list earlier in the day, Kody Kerski struck out two as part of a perfect eighth inning, while Troy Scott (SV, 1) pitched the final frame.
In the bottom of the ninth, Scott retired Kernels' catcher Brian Navarreto on a weakly hit ball back in front of the plate, and got Jonatan Hinojosa to fly out to Morales in left field. Scott then walked Tanner English, which brought Nick Gordon, the league leader in RBI to the plate as the tying run. Scott struck out Gordon on a 1-2 pitch to close out Clinton's combined no-hitter.
The Clinton no-hitter comes nearly two years after the clubs' last one, the complete game no-hitter by Victor Sanchez on 7/17/13, and is the third tossed by LumberKings' pitching in the last four seasons. It was the first combined no-hitter for Clinton since 1996, and the first in club history to feature more than two pitchers.
With the no-hitter in the books, Clinton will aim to win the series Saturday night at Perfect Game Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 CT, as Tyler Herb (0-1, 6.43) looks to follow Daniel Missaki's magical night, while Michael Cederoth (0-2, 5.14) is scheduled to pitch for the Kernels. The LumberKings broadcast can be heard on WCCI 100.3 FM, WCCIRadio.com, and LumberKings.com.