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MWL: Kernels hold Cougars to two hits, fall in finale

GENEVA, Ill. -- The Kernels held the Kane County Cougars to just two hits on Monday night, but they ultimately lost 2-1 in the series finale. The Kernels finished with three hits as neither team recorded a hit over the games final four innings. The Kernels offense matched a season-high with 14 strikeouts in the game. Kane County finished with three errors, one more than their hit total.

Kohl Stewart (1-3) took the tough-luck loss as allowed the two hits in six innings of work. He allowed two runs but one was unearned while striking out two and walking two. Stewart retired the final eight batters he faced. Jared Wilson retired all six he faced in relief, while striking out one, as the duo combined to retire the final 14 Cougars on the evening.

Cedar Rapids-native and current Chicago Cubs outfielder Ryan Sweeney made a rehab start for the Cougars. He started in right field and batted second in the order. Sweeney made three plate appearances before exiting, finishing 0-for-2 with a walk. He drew a base on balls in his first appearance, lined out hard to second baseman Ryan Walker, and grounded to fellow Cedar Rapids-native and first baseman Chad Christensen.

The Kernels (28-36) scored a run in the top of the first inning for the second consecutive game, taking a 1-0 lead. Walker led off the game by singling into right field. He stole second base and advanced to third base on Engelb Vielmas groundout. Walker came home on Christensens RBI groundout to first base.

Kane County (43-21) took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning while recording only one hit. Jordan Hankins drew a one-out walk and came home on a RBI double that hit off the right-field wall by Jacob Rogers. Rogers advanced to third on a fielding error by Jonathan Murphy, and he came home on a RBI sacrifice fly that was credited to Daniel Lockhart after being robbed on a diving catch by Jason Kanzler in left-center. The Cougars only other hit came by Lockhart in the second inning when he singled with two outs.

In addition to Kanzlers diving catch in center, Engelb Vielma made a pair of diving stops on consecutive pitches in the sixth inning. With both, Vielma dove to his left and robbed a Cougars hitter of a base hit by throwing to first base.

The Kernels had scoring chances throughout the game but were unable to plate a second run. Murphy doubled with one away in the third inning but was left at third base to end the frame. Mitch Garver walked with one out in the fourth inning but didnt advance. The base on balls extended Garvers consecutive on-base streak to 19 games. Joel Licon singled to lead off the fifth inning but was left at second base. Christensen drew a walk in the sixth and stole second base but a hard line out and ground out ended the threat.

Tanner Vavra was able to get into scoring position in both the seventh and ninth innings, but the Kernels couldnt find the big hit to get him in. Vavra reached on an error both times, getting all the way to third base with only one out in the seventh stanza and making it to second base in the final inning with two outs.

The final hit for the Kernels came in the fifth inning with Licons single.

Kane County used four pitchers to complete the game and allow the three total hits. Jen-Ho Tseng was activated off of the disabled list and made his first start since early May, going three innings in a no-decision. He allowed one run on two hits while striking out three and walking none. Michael Heesch (1-0) collected the win in 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out four and walking two. James Pugliese struck out five with no hits or walks over 2 2/3 innings. Tyler Bremer notched his seventh save, going the final innings, allowing no hits or runs while punching out two.

The Kernels return home on Tuesday to take on the Quad Cities River Bandits at 6:35 p.m. Its Twins Tuesday, sponsored by Great Clips. Get an online coupon from the Kernels Facebook page or email newsletter for a 2-for-1 ticket offer. The Kernels will wear special jerseys, and one lucky fan will win a pair of Minnesota Twins tickets.

On Tuesday, Cedar Rapids sends RHP Aaron Slegers (5-2, 4.97) to the mound while Quad Cities counters with RHP Jandel Gustave (5-3, 4.27)

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