The Clinton LumberKings got a great start from LHP Luiz Gohara and three hits from top Seattle Mariners prospect Alex Jackson to lead them to a 3-0 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits at Modern Woodmen Park on Saturday.
The start was the second for Gohara in the Midwest League this season. (He also made two starts for Clinton last season.) In his July 4 start against the Burlington Bees, he gave up a run on seven hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. His control was much better Saturday, as he gave up only three hits and one walk in six scoreless innings — and also picked off two baserunners.
Gohara’s counterpart, River Bandits RHP Albert Abreu — the reigning Midwest League pitcher of the week — gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. He took the loss, dropping his record to 2-7 with a 4.28 ERA this season.
The first run given up by Abreu came on a long homer by Jackson, who sent the ball over the rightfield fence into the Mississippi River to lead off the 4th inning. Jackson also doubled and singled in the game, raising his batting average to .238 in 46 games with the LumberKings this season. He started off slow when he joined the team in May, but his 3-for-4 performance Saturday gives him a .324 batting average (11-for-34) in his last 10 games.
The LumberKings added two more runs in the top of the 5th inning, on back-to-back RBI hits by Rayder Ascanio and Dalton Kelly.
The River Bandits made the game interesting in the bottom of the 9th. With two on and no outs, Dexture McCall hit a long flyball that was caught at the wall. If it had landed a few feet farther, the score would have been tied 3-3. Instead, the River Bandits loaded the bases when Connor Goedert drew a two-out walk, but left the bags full when Hector Roa struck out swinging to end the game.
The win improved Clinton’s second-half record to 13-4. That’s the best record in the Midwest League in the second half (both the Lansing Lugnuts and the South Bend Cubs are 12-5), and gives the LumberKings a four-game lead over the River Bandits and the Peoria Chiefs in the Western Division.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler