Kernels Begin Second Half With Uninspired Loss

Jeff Johnson, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — They talked about quite a few things in their pregame meeting last night. The Cedar Rapids Kernels ended up not really doing any of them.

The pitching struggled, the offense wasn't much better and the beginning of the second half looked eerily similar to a lot of the first half as the Kernels lost to Beloit, 7-0, before 3,309 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Not exactly how this club wanted to begin their final 70 games. Flush it and get back at it tomorrow.

"We want to have a hot start," Kernels manager Jamie Burke said. "Our mentality is going to to be to go out and win in the second half. Things kind of came together there at the end of the first half. I feel like we can do this. As long as we can get everyone to click together: pitching, defense, offense. I feel like we've got a good shot with the guys we have."

Burke admits it'll be tough not having third baseman Kaleb Cowart around to lean on. He deservedly received a promotion to high-Class A after playing in Tuesday night's Midwest League All-Star Game.

Cowart led the Kernels in virtually every offensive category.

"We're losing an outstanding ballplayer," Burke said. "He picked us up big the first half. But you know what, that's part of the game. You've got to circle around each other and find another way to do it. I think we've got those t76ype of guys that can do it. Yeah, he'll be deeply missed. But on the other hand, we've got to let him go and focus on what we have."

Cedar Rapids (32-39) got one hit against a trio of Beloit pitchers: an Eric Stamets single with one out in the first. Even more discouraging was pitcher Cam Bedrosian's struggles.

He didn't allow a run in his previous two starts, but couldn't find the strike zone Friday night and lasted only three innings, giving up five runs. The Kernels are last by a wide margin in team earned run average in the league and the pitching must be better for this club to compete.

"Yes, we are last in the league in pitching, but these guys have improved," Burke said.

The teams play again tonight at 6:35.
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