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Strong Pitching, Clutch Hitting Lead Kernels to 3-0 Win Over Bowling Green

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Clutch hitting by Jean Almanzar and a crucial error by the Hot Rods guided the Cedar Rapids Kernels past Bowling Green, 3-0, Wednesday night at Perfect Game Field.

Kernels starter Max Russell (5-9) picked up the win in the ballgame, giving up no runs on five hits in seven innings of work. Russell struck out four batters en route to earning his fifth victory of the season.

Nate Garcia (2-1) picked up the loss for Bowling Green, pitching two innings and giving up a pair of earned runs. Russell and Hot Rods starter C.J. Niefenhauser had a pitcher's duel going through much of the ballgame, holding both squads scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. Niefenhauser pitched five innings of one-hit baseball, giving up no runs while striking out two and walking two.

The Kernels were able to scratch out a run to get on the scoreboard first, taking advantage of a crucial miscue by Hot Rods first baseman Phil Wunderlich.

The error came in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs and Chris Giovinazzo standing on second base. Ricky Alvarez ripped a grounder to Hot Rots shortstop Derek Dietrich, who threw to Wunderlich. Wunderlich dropped a good throw at first, allowing Cedar Rapids to take a 1-0 lead.

Jean Almanzar broke the ballgame open for the Kernels in the seventh inning, tripling home Brandon Decker and Marcus Nidiffer to make the score 3-0. The two-run triple extended Almanzar's hit streak to 12 games - the longest by any Kernel this season.

Cedar Rapids turned the ball over to Daniel Tillman in the eighth inning, looking for a two-inning save.

Tillman delivered, giving up no runs and no hits as he picked up his seventh save of the season.

The Kernels continue the series with Bowling Green on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. It's a 100.7 The Fox Thirsty Thursday. Bottle soda and water are just $2 all game and 12 oz. draft beer is just $1.50.

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