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MWL: Kernels Crush Clinton, Sweep LumberKings

CLINTON, IOWA The Kernels crushed Clinton 12-1 on Sunday afternoon at Ashford University Field.  They set a season-high with 12 runs and 15 total hits. Five Kernels had multi-hit games. Chad Christensen and Zack Larson led the way with three hits each. Four players had more than one run batted in as Ivory Thomas led the way by driving in three. Christensen and Thomas both reached base four times, and Thomas hit his first home run of the season.

Aaron Slegers (2-0) continued his strong start to the 2014 season with a terrific seven innings of work.  He struck out eight and walked none while allowing a single run on six hits. Slegers got stronger as the day went on, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. He struck out two hitters in both the sixth and seventh inning, capping off a season-high in strikeouts and innings-pitched.

The Kernels jumped in front of Clinton in the top of the first inning with a pair of runs. The first four hitters reached base, and two of them scored to put Cedar Rapids ahead 2-0.  Joel Licon and Tanner Vavra drew back to back walks to start the ballgame. Christensen then scored Licon with a RBI single down the first base line. With runners on the corners, Vavra came home when Mitch Garver reached on a RBI infield single that was chopped up the third base line.

Clinton cut the lead in half in the second inning with a solo home run by Burt Reynolds, his first of the season and only run on the day for the LumberKings. Reynolds went the opposite way to right field, making the score 2-1.


In the third inning, the Kernels scored two runs to take a 4-1 lead. Christensen singled to right to start the inning. With the bases loaded, B.K. Santys two-out, two-run bloop single to right field scored both Christensen and Larson.

Edwin Diaz (1-1) started for Clinton and exited after 3 2/3 innings, taking the loss. He allowed four runs and four hits while walking five and striking out five.

Ramire Cleto entered with two outs in the fourth inning and quickly allowed two runs. Cleto issued a two-out walk to Christensen, who then stole second base. Garvers RBI single into left field scored Christensen to put the Kernels in front 5-1. Larson then ripped a RBI double down the third base line to score Garver from first base, and the Kernels led 6-1.

The Kernels extended their lead to 9-1 with three more runs in the sixth inning. Vavra and Christensen collected consecutive singles to put two on. Larsons RBI single to center plated Vavra while Christensen came home on a RBI single by Thomas. Larson scored the third run of the inning from third base on an unintentional double steal when Thomas got into a rundown between first and second base with Logan Wade at the dish.

Cedar Rapids added three more runs in the ninth inning, pushing the advantage to 12-1.  With Larson at first base after a single, Thomas hit his first home run as a Kernel in his second game.  The blast went the opposite way to right field.  Logan Wade followed with a single to left.  He later scored on Vavras RBI double off the wall in right field.

Todd Van Steensel made his Kernels debut in the eighth inning and struck out two.  Christian Powell also struck out two while working the ninth.

Cleto finished his outing for Clinton by allowing five runs and six hits over 2 1/3 innings.  Mark Bordonaro went two scoreless innings.  Rafael Pineda allowed three runs and five hits over one inning of relief.

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