Clinton Falls In Season Opener
Geneva, IL - The Clinton LumberKings fell in the season opener to the Kane County Couagrs 2-0 on Thursday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. LumberKings (0-1) starter Chris Vallimont set career highs for innings pitched, five, and strikeouts, eight, but was given a no decision for his time out.
Early on LumberKings batters pressured Cougars (1-0) starter Jackson Goddard to put seven men on against him through his three innings. Despite the traffic, Clinton failed to cash in on the early chances leaving runners stranded at first and third in the first, first and second in the second, and the bases loaded in the third.
Jerar Encarnacion provided much of the offense for Clinton and was the only LumberKings to have a multi-hit game - 3-for-4 with three singles.
Following Goddard's departure, Cougars pitching settled down to allow just two more base runners to reach. Andy Toelken earned the win for Kane County by following out of the bullpen with four shutout innings. He struck out five batters in that time and allowed just one hit to earn his first win of the year.
Clinton pitching was sharp through most of the contest and did not surrender their first hit until the fourth inning. Vallimont, Nestor Bautista, and Tyler Jones combined to strikeout 12 while walking three.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars broke the scoreless tie after loading the bases to lead-off the inning with two singles and a walk. Brandon Leyton was credited with bringing in the game's first run with an RBI ground out to third. Bautista (0-1) allowed not more runs over his 1.2 innings of works but was still hung with the loss for his time out.
Kane County added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single from Zac Almond.
The LumberKings got the tying run to the plate in the ninth but could not force a man home against Cougars closer Ethan Larrison who earned the save.
The LumberKings will play their final game of the series in Kane County on Friday afternoon final game. Clinton will throw right-handed pitcher Josh Roberson (0-0, 0.00) while the Cougars will counter with righty righty Ryan Weiss (0-0, 0.00). Game time is slated for 12:00 p.m. (CDT). Fans looking to listen to the game can hear Erik Oas on the call on 100.3 FM WCCI and online at lumberkings.com via the tunein radio ap at 11:45 a.m. with the pregame show.
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