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MWL: Kernels sail past Captains with early scoring
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Cedar Rapids Kernels utilized heavy hitting to down the Lake County Captains 10-4 Wednesday night. Five defensive errors doomed the Captains while the Kernels’ 13 base-hits powered their offense to a series-opening victory. Chih-Wei Hu was dominant over six innings of work in his first win where he saw a streak of 13 consecutive batters not reach the base paths. Chad Christensen scored two and tallied a pair of doubles while Logan Wade added a run and a triple from the plate.
Alex Swim went 3-for-4 from the plate and scored two runs while driving in two . Jason Kanzler and Mitch Garver both collected a pair of hits while scoring two runs. Alex Muren and Jake Reed held off a late Lake County rally out of the bullpen by tossing three shutout innings.
Three hits and three Lake County errors allowed the Kernels to take a 4-0 advantage after one inning of play. Engelb Vielma led off the order with a single and later scored on a Mitch Garver double to centerfield. A two-out throwing error on a Jason Kanzler grounder to short stop allowed Garver to score later in the frame.
J.D. Williams singled in Alex Swim in the next at-bat and induced a right field throwing error that allowed Kanzler to race across the plate. Williams was tagged out after the scored runs in a pickle between second and third to end the inning.
Cedar Rapids added three to its lead in the bottom of the third to go up 7-0. Chad Christensen began the frame with a leadoff double to center and later scored on an Alex Swim RBI-single. Jason Kanzler followed the single with a two-run home run that cleared the wall in straightaway centerfield. The blast marked Kanzler’s ninth long ball of the season.
The Kernels opened the fifth on three consecutive singles to load the bases and tallied an additional run on a J.D. Williams walk. Mitch Garver scored on the base on balls to extend the advantage to 8-0.
Caleb Hamrick (3-5) exited the mound with the bases jammed and no outs in the top of the fifth. Hamrick tossed four innings and allowed eight runs, five earned, on ten hits while walking four and striking out one.
Justin Garcia entered for the Captains in the fifth and escaped a based-loaded jam by striking out the side. Garcia pitched two innings for the Captains and allowed two runs on three base-hits while striking out three.
Nellie Rodriguez bumped Lake County into the scoring column with a run-scoring single in the top of the sixth. Paul Hendrix tripled with two outs earlier in the half-inning and scored on the extra-base hit to make the gap 8-1.
Logan Wade opened the sixth frame with a triple into centerfield and scored on a Chad Christensen double during the next at-bat. Alex Swim made it a 10-1 lead by singling in Christensen later in the frame.
Lake County trimmed it to a 10-4 ballgame in the top of the seventh after the first three men to the box scored in the inning. Brian Ruiz smacked a double to left field to bring in Dorssys Paulino for the frame’s first score. Ivan Castillo cleared the bases for a two-run triple in the next at-bat to narrow the deficit to six runs.
Chih-Wei Hu (1-0) ended his first victory evening with runners on the bases in the seventh. Hu allowed four runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four over six innings of work.
Alex Muren took the mound with men on in the seventh and escaped while tossing two scoreless frames for Cedar Rapids. Muren allowed one hit, struck out three and walked one in his relief outing.
Carlos Melo toed the rubber for the Captains to open the seventh. Melo hurled two scoreless, hitless frames where he walked one and struck out three.
Jake Reed closed the ninth for the Kernels out of the bullpen and retired all three batters he faced. Reed tallied one strikeout while preserving the 10-4 advantage.
The Kernels host Lake County for game two of the series Thursday at 6:35 p.m. It’s a Z-102.9 Thirsty Thursday where 12 oz. regular draft beer, 20 oz. bottled soda and water are just $2.00 all game. Plus get $1 off margaritas at the Hacienda Las Glorias / La Cantina Mexican Cart. It’s also another Little Caesars College Night where fans can show their college ID at the Kernels Ticket Office for a Club ticket and two slices of Little Caesars Pizza for just $7.