Late Offense Carries the Day
BOWLING GREEN, KY - Late offense and another strong start by Chris Vallimont was enough for the Clinton LumberKings to top the Bowling Green Hot Rods 5-2 on Thursday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. Clinton (17-15) set a new season high for doubles in a game with four, and received late insurance runs on Marcos Rivera's third home run off the year.
Caleb Sampen started for Bowling Green and allowed very little to LumberKIngs hitters over his first six innings out. Clinton did not register their first hit until the ninth man up, Ricardo Cespedes, lined a single into left center field.
Sampen (2-2) nearly made one run hold up after Bowling Green (19-15) forced across the game's first run in the bottom of the third. Grant Witherspoon singled home Beau Brundage off Chris Vallimont but had nothing more to show for their time against the LumberKings starter.
Vallimont (2-2) earned his second win of the year for a seven-inning outing - matching a professional career high. He allowed just the one run on three hits while walking two and striking out seven.
The LumberKings offense arrived late but broke out in the top of the seventh. Jerar Encarnacion doubled to left center to open the frame and was chased home when Sean Reynolds doubled off the wall in right on the very next pitch. Demetrius Sims gave Clinton the lead for good with an RBI singe that was part of a three-hit night at the plate. Thomas Jones capped the inning with a run scoring double down the line in left.
Marcos Rivera provided the final blow of the game for the LumberKings in the top of the ninth. Following a two-out Sims double, he went the opposite field to right for his third home run of the night.
C.J. Carter earned his first save of the season for two innings of work - surrendering one run on a Witherspoon ninth home run to right.
The LumberKings will meet the Bowling Green Hot Rods for the second game of a three-game series on Friday night. Clinton will throw right-handed pitcher Alberto Guerrero(2-0, 3.13) while the Hot Rods will throw lefty Shane McClanahan (2-1, 3.76). Fans looking to listen to the game can hear Erik Oas on the call at 100.3 FM WCCI and online at lumberkings.com via the tunein radio ap at 6:20 p.m. (CDT) with the pregame show.
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