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MWL: Kernels fall to Wisconsin
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- A night after setting a new team-high for hits in a game, the Cedar Rapids Kernels fell 5-2 to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Wednesday evening. Angel Ortega put the Rattlers up by three runs in the fourth inning on a straight-away centerfield inside-the-park homerun. Chad Christensen totaled three hits in four at-bats with an RBI and a run scored while Alex Swim added the other run-batted-in for the Kernels. Mitch Garver collected two hits while starter Ryan Eades set a personal and team-best nine strikeouts in the losing effort. The Rattlers evened the series with the win, but were outhit 10-8 in the contest.
Dominant pitching defined the game from the opening pitch with nine combined strikeouts by both starters through the first three innings.
The Rattlers got on the scoreboard in the fourth on a two-out inside-the-park homerun off the bat off Angel Ortega. The Ortega line drive on a 1-0 count into centerfield got past a diving Jason Kanzler and allowed Dustin DeMuth and Rafael Neda to score, giving Wisconsin a 3-0 lead.
Ryan Eades (5-9) ended the start with men on the base paths in the top of the fifth. Eades allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and sending down a season-high nine batters on strikes.
The Kernels sent Chris Mazza to the hill to work out of the fifth. Mazza ended his outing after two scoreless innings where he allowed two hits and struck out two.
Wisconsin added two runs in the top of the sixth on one out to go up 5-0. Jose Pena singled in DeMuth on a ball to third base while teammate Ortega collected his fourth run-batted-in on the night on a fielder’s choice looper to right field that brought Taylor Brennan in for the score.
Clint Terry (2-2) finished the evening after allowing one run on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings. Terry walked two and struck out seven in the victory.
Luke Curtis made his debut for the Timber Rattlers midway through the sixth frame. Curtis gave up one hit and one run over the span of 1 2/3 innings while striking out two hitters.
Cedar Rapids broke into the scoring column 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Chad Christensen scored on an Alex Swim groundball to third that was mishandled for an error.
Tanner Vavra edged the Kernels closer 5-2 in the seventh when Christensen singled him in from right-center field on two outs. Vavra advanced into scoring position on a long fly ball into right from Ryan Walker in the previous plate appearance.
Jared Wilson took the mound the Cedar Rapids in the eighth and closed the final two innings with scoreless, hitless visits along with a pair of strikeouts.
Wisconsin turned it over to Barrett Astin for the eighth and ninth to preserve the 5-2 lead. Astin picked up his second save of the year after tossing two scoreless frames and surrendering two hits to give Wisconsin the series-evening victory.
The Kernels host the Timber Rattlers in the series-finale Thursday evening at 6:35 p.m. It’s Tribute to Corn Night at the ballpark! It's a night dedicated to what makes Iowa great - CORN! The Kernels will have corn specials at the concession stands during the game. The first 1,000 fans through the gates receive a free corn water bottle as part of Tribute to Corn Night.
It’s also another Thirsty Thursday, sponsored by Z 102.9. 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. Little Caesars College Night will also take place during the game. Every Thursday home game, show your college ID at the Kernels Ticket Office for a Club ticket and two slices of Little Caesars Pizza for just $7.
RHP Chih-Wei Hu (1st Start) will make his Kernels debut in the start while Wisconsin is expected to throw RHP Taylor Williams (6-1, 2.87).