Kernels Split with Beloit
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A game that began in the middle, then an extra inning game that lasted 9. It was a day of oddities at Perfect Game Field that ended in an even split of a doubleheader for the Kernels and the Beloit Snappers.
Game 1 was picked up where the rain ended the game on Thursday.
It doesn’t happen much, but the Kernels (13-15) were down by one to the Snappers (16-13) at the beginning of the game Friday, as it was resumed in the third inning due to rain with Beloit in the lead 2-1.
But instead of continuing the low-scoring ways of previous day, the Kernels bats were unleashed. 7 different players hit safely, while 6 scored runs for Cedar Rapids in the day’s first game.
The game was going Beloit’s way until there were 2 outs in the 6th.
First Andy Workman singled in Trevor Hairgrove. The rest of the barrage was spurred by a Beloit error, when first basemen Rory Rhodes bobbled a ground-ball that would’ve been the innings final out. Instead, Chevy Clarke — who drove in the Kernels only run the previous day — reached first base, and both Jones and Workman scored. Back-to-back doubles after that by Matt Scioscia and Carlos Lugo pushed the lead to 6-2.
The 7th inning nearly saw a Kernels cycle, as three consecutive hitters had three types of hits. In consecutive 1-out at-bats, Hairgrove singled, Kaleb Cowart doubled, and both scored on a Jones triple. Jones then scored on a Clarke single, giving the Kernels a 9-4 advantage.
Top Twins’ prospect Miguel Sano threatened a comeback with a 2-run home run in the 8th inning, but Beloit mustered no more runs.
Joe Melioris (3-0) earned a victory after a 4 inning stint as the day’s starter. The righty allowed just 2 hits and as many runs. Frank DeJulio and Ty Kelley combined to finish the game for the Kernels.
Game 2 was oh-so-close to a Kernels sweep, but a late rally from Beloit erased the early Cedar Rapids lead.
After the Kernels first 6 hitters were retired in order, Scioscia was Cedar Rapids’ first base-runner of game 2. The Notre Dame alumnus walked after a 12-pitch at-bat, eventually working his way to third before a Soto sacrifice fly allowed him to score. The Kernels subsequently took the lead on a Hairgrove single, scoring Abel Baker.
Baker’s offense translated to an amazing defensive inning in the 4th, when the Denton, Texas native threw out not one, but two Snapper base runners trying to steal second.
Michael Clevinger struck out 4 and allowed a single run in 5 innings on the mound in a no-decision. He navigated a particularly tough fifth inning masterfully, striking out two Snappers with runners on second and third base.
It was near-déjà vu in the sixth, when Stephen Tromblee came out of the bullpen with a runner on third base. He induced a fly-out then struck out the inning’s final hitter to preserve the lead. Beloit stranded 7 runners in scoring position in the game.
Cowart added an insurance run — that was eventually needed — in the 6th with an opposite field, solo home-run that bounced off the top of the party porch wall in left. Cowart now has 4 long-balls this season.
Unfortunately for the Kernels, the Snappers scored the final 4 runs of the game. Wang-Wei Lin, J.D. Williams, and Eddie Rosario strung together three doubles in the 7th inning for 2 runs to tie the game.
In the 9th, Sano redeemed his earlier strikeout with a deep, 2-run home run to give the Snappers their winning runs.
Carmine Giardina (1-3) took the loss for Cedar Rapids, while Clinton Dempster (2-1) earned the victory.
The Kernels now hit the road for an 11-game road trip. The four game series at Wisconsin begins on Saturday evening at 6:35 p.m. The Kernels play afternoon games on Sunday and Tuesday with a night game on Monday. The Kernels then will play a commuter series at Burlington and a commuter series at Quad Cities.
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