Clinton LumberKings pitching combined on a four-hit shutout on Saturday night in Game 1 of the Midwest League Semifinals.
Former Miami Marlins 12th-rounder Josh Roberson started for the Clinton LumberKings, and whiffed 10 Cedar Rapids batters in only five innings of work. He surrendered three hits and no walks, earning a 71 GameScore while placing 51-of-75 offerings over the plate. Manuel Rodriguez relieved with three innings of scoreless work, striking out two and allowing a walk and a hit. Zach Wolf tossed a perfect ninth, striking out a pair.
A sparse crowd of only 669 witnessed the home LumberKings get out to an early lead when fourth-round pick Evan Edwards clobbered a 2-0 Andrew Cabezas offering over the center field fence. Edwards scored Will Banfield on the play, who had earlier reached on a one-out single.
Samuel Castro opened the third with a triple, and scored when a Christopher Torres grounder ricocheted off the pitcher for an infield hit. Clinton added another run in the fifth. Torres, Jose Devers, and Peyton Burdick connected on consecutive two-out singles to give the Kings a 4-0 cushion. It was three more runs than they really needed.
Cedar Rapids pitching was also pretty good, holding the Clinton LumberKings to seven hits and collecting 11 strikeouts. Cabezas took the loss, surrendering all four runs in 4 2/3 innings of work.
Torres was the only Clinton LumberKIngs hitter to finish with a multi-hit game. Clinton wasn’t perfect though, as Thomas Jones was caught napping on first after drawing a leadoff walk in the fifth. Seven-of-nine Clinton starters got to base, as only Kameron Misner and Bubba Hollins failed to reach. Thomas Jones didn’t collect a hit, but did reach on a walk.
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Tonight at 6:05 EDT, at Perfect Game Field in Cedar Rapids, the two clubs will play in game two of the best-of-three series. Kody Funderburk (1-3, 4.68, .241 opposing batting average, 1.42 WHIP) will get the start for the Kernels, and the Kings will give former 10th-rounder Tanner Andrews (8-5, 3.52 ERA, .212 opposing batting average, 1.08 WHIP) a turn. Game three is Monday night.
The series winner will go on to face the other MWL Semifinals winner, either the Great Lakes Loons or the South Bend Cubs. The Cubbies lead that one, one-game-to-zero after a 6-4 victory earlier. The MWL Championship series will be a best-of-five affair.
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