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MWL: Kernels fall in finale at Wisconsin
GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers beat the Kernels 6-3 on Saturday afternoon to take two of three games in the series. The Timber Rattlers used a three-run third inning to pull ahead. Cedar Rapids finished 2-4 on the road trip that started with a series at Quad Cities. The Kernels return home on Monday to host the Peoria Chiefs in a doubleheader at 5:05 p.m.
The Kernels scored the first run of the game on Saturday, taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs, Chad Christensen doubled into the right-field corner. He scored when Mitch Garver singled into left field as the Kernels tallied a run in the first inning for the second consecutive game.
Wisconsin tied the game 1-1 in an odd second inning. It started with a fly out to left as J.D. Williams struggled to find the ball in the sun but eventually caught. Taylor Brennan then drew a walk, and Omar Garcia reached on an infield single on a chopper just past the mound. Steve Halcomb reached on a bloop single into shallow right-center. With the bases loaded, Angel Ortega lined a ball to right field. Kernels right fielder Ivory Thomas dropped the line drive, allowing Ortega to reach first. Halcomb had returned to first to tag up, and the Kernels were able to force him out at second base. Meanwhile, Brennan came home to score and tie the game. Also in the inning, catcher Michael Quesada lost a ball in the sun that resulted in a foul ball as it dropped a few feet away from the Kernels dugout.
The Timber Rattlers scored three times in the third inning to take a 4-1 advantage as nine men came to the plate in the inning. The first three batters reached to start the inning, and they all came around to score. Chris McFarland singled, Clint Coulter walked, and Jose Pena singled to load the bases. With Michael Ratterree at the plate, Kernels starter Ryan Eades delivered a wild pitch to score McFarland and put Wisconsin in front. A second wild pitch allowed Coulter to score and put Wisconsin up 3-1. Pena later scored on another bloop single Halcomb to make the score 4-1. This one fell behind first base, down the right-field line.
Eades (3-4) took the loss for the Kernels as he allowed four runs (three earned) over 2 2/3 innings. He allowed five hits, struck out one, and walked four.
Victor Diaz (1-1) went five innings for Wisconsins win. He allowed just one run and four hits while striking out seven and walking none.
Bryan Haars RBI double in the sixth inning cut the Wisconsin lead to 4-2. The double was rippled down the left field line and scored Christensen, who drew a walk to start the frame. Wisconsin answered in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run by Chris McFarland. It was his sixth of the season and second of the series, increasing Wisconsins lead to 5-2.
The Timber Rattlers increased their lead to 6-2 in the seventh inning on consecutive hits. Brennan singled and quickly scored on a RBI triple by Garcia. Haar plated another run for the Kernels in the eighth inning, making the score 6-3. His two-out RBI single to center plated Engelb Vielma, who drew a base on balls to begin the inning.
Derrick Penilla pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief for the Kernels. He allowed two runs on six hits while striking out three and walking none in the longest outing for a Kernel reliever this season. Yorman Landa went 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing no hits with one strikeout and one walk.
Anthony Banda went the final four innings for Wisconsin, collecting his first save. He allowed two runs on two hits while striking out six and walking three.
The Kernels return home on Monday to face Peoria in a doubleheader at 5:05 p.m. The doubleheader features another Dollar Monday at the ballpark. Fans can get regular hot dogs, small popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, chips, and Cracker Jacks for $1 each on Monday home games.
Game one will feature RHP Ethan Mildren (0-1, 2.25) for Cedar Rapids and RHP Alex Reyes (2-1, 2.31) for Peoria. In game two, the Kernels are expected to go with LHP Josue Montanez (0-1, 8.66) while Peoria will counter with RHP Arturo Reyes (2-2, 2.83)