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MWL: Kernels hold off late Clinton rally to win

CLINTON, IOWA -- The Kernels held off a late rally by the Clinton LumberKings but held on to win 7-6 on Saturday afternoon at Ashford University Field. The Kernels led 7-2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but the LumberKings tallied four runs in the inning to cut the lead to 7-6. Zack Larson paced the offense, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs batted in, and two runs scored.  Tanner Vavra recorded three hits with a run batted in and a run scored. Felix Jorge (2-1) collected the win in six innings of work.

Clinton took an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run by Tyler ONeill in the bottom of the second inning. It was ONeills fourth of the season and just got over the left field fence.

The Kernels quickly tied the game 1-1 in the top of third inning with back to back doubles. Vavra doubled down the right field line and came home when Chad Christensen doubled down the left field line.

Cedar Rapids took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning when Jason Kanzlers single through the middle with the bases loaded scored both Larson and Ivory Thomas. Larson and Thomas singled before Bo Altobelli was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

The Kernels opened their advantage up to 5-1 in the fifth inning with the use of only one hit. Larsons two-out double to deep left plated Christensen and Mitch Garver. Christensen was hit by a pitch, and Garver drew a walk earlier in the inning before they both stole bases to get into scoring position.

The LumberKings loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning but settled for one run to cut the Kernels lead to 5-2.  With the bases loaded, Zach Shanks RBI sacrifice fly plated ONeill for the only run of the inning.

Jorge went six innings for his second win, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out five and walking one.

The Kernels added two runs in the eighth inning to take a 7-2 lead.  Larson singled and Thomas walked to start the inning.  Altobelli drilled a RBI double down the left field line to plate Larson and move Thomas to third base.  With two outs, Vavras RBI single through the left side brought Thomas home to give the Kernels a five-run advantage.

Clinton rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, trimming the Kernels lead to 7-6. Josue Montanez pitched a scoreless seventh inning but allowed the first four Clinton hitters to reach in the eighth. Zach Shank singled and quickly scored on Ian Millers RBI triple.  Miller came home on Corey Simpsons RBI single.  Jack Reinheimer then singled, and Montanez exited as Hudson Boyd came to the mound.  With two outs, Joe DeCarlo walked to load the bases.  Then, Justin Seager singled home Reinheimer and DeCarlo, cutting the Kernels lead to one run.  A groundout ended the eighth inning and kept the Kernels in front.

Boyd went two scoreless innings for his third save. Montanez was credited with a hold but allowed four runs over one full inning.

Lars Huijer (0-1) took the loss for Clinton, allowing five runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings.  

The Kernels conclude the series at Clinton on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. RHP Aaron Slegers (1-0, 3.74) will start for the Kernels while RHP Edwin Diaz (1-0, 1.42) starts for Clinton.

The Kernels return home on Monday, April 28 v. Kane County at 6:35 p.m. Its a Dollar Monday as regular hot dogs, small popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, chips, and Cracker Jacks are each just $1.00 on Monday home games.
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