Clark Beeker extends scoreless pitching string to 32 2/3 innings in 3-0 win over Quad Cities

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Someone eventually will score a run against Clark Beeker. It’s inevitable.

But it didn’t happen Friday night. Not even the Midwest League’s hottest team could put a dent in the Midwest League’s hottest pitcher.

Beeker grew his scoreless streak some more with seven shutout innings that quelled Quad Cities, 3-0, at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The River Bandits had an impressive nine-game win streak ended.

Speaking of impressive, that’s been Beeker. The guy hasn’t given up a thing in his last four starts, spanning 32 2/3 innings.

The 24-year-old right-hander from Davidson College has been impenetrable, lowering his league-leading earned run average to 2.03. It’s a sign of how good he’s been this season that he could throw seven shutout innings here and see his ERA drop only .12.

“I’m not too worried about it,” Beeker said. “I’m just going out there mainly just trying to give my team a chance to win. Hopefully pitching well, and (the streak) comes along with it. It’d be one thing if this was a hit streak or a walk streak. In terms of it being runs, the goal is not to give up any runs to begin with. So that’s just kind of where I’m at.”

He’ll never, ever wow you with his stuff. The fastball doesn’t hit 90 miles per hour often, but he mixes and locates.

That’s called pitching.

Beeker darted in and out of trouble a few times, stranding a runner at third base in the second and runners at first and second in the fifth and sixth. He got some really good defense behind him as well, including a pair of double plays and a great diving catch of a line drive toward the gap by center fielder Christian Cavaness.

Beeker allowed three hits and walked three, not striking out a soul. Goes back to that knowing-how-to-pitch thing.

“The strike zone was a little tight, but you’ve got to find a way to throw strikes and get around that,” Beeker said. “I felt OK, maybe not as good as I had my previous couple of outings. That’s half the battle, though. You’re not always going to have your best stuff. You need to find ways to work around it and make pitches when you need to. Especially with runners in scoring position.”

Cedar Rapids (60-57, 21-26) got a solo home run in the second inning from Ben Rortvedt, a run-scoring single in the third from Rortvedt and an infield RBI single in the sixth from Lewin Diaz. Rortvedt’s RBI single was disputed, as Quad Cities left fielder Ronnie Dawson leaped at the tall wall, couldn’t catch the baseball cleanly but appeared to on the rebound.

It originally was called an out, but changed to a hit after the umpires convened, ruling the ball hit the padded wall before Dawson snagged it.

The Kernels put infielder Travis Blankenhorn on the seven-day disabled list prior to Friday’s game with a lower back strain. It’s expected that outfielder Aaron Whitefield will replace him on the active roster, coming off the DL.

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