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MWL: Kernels take opener over Burlington

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Following a four-win road trip, the Kernels took the series-opener 6-2 over the Burlington Bees on Tuesday night. The four-run victory marked the eighth consecutive opening win in a series dating back to July fourth for Cedar Rapids. After allowing a first-inning homerun, Lewis Thorpe settled down and tossed 5 2/3 innings recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts on the way to his second win of the year.

Michael Quesada knocked in a pair of runs in fourth while Bryan Haar and Alex Swim each scored two runs in the contest. Mitch Garver went 2-for-4 with a run scored while Chris Mazza and Jake Reed collectively shutout the Bees over 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.

Angel Rosa lifted the Bees to an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run over the left field wall in the top of the first inning.

Micahel Quesada drilled the Kernels in front in the fourth with a two-out single into right field that brought in two runs. Alex Swim doubled earlier in the inning and scored on Quesada’s line-drive along with Bryan Haar to lift Cedar Rapids to a 2-1 lead.

The Kernels added a pair of runs on a Burlington two-out error in right field and a Bryan Haar double to left to go up 4-1 in the fifth. Ryan Walker led off the inning with a single into right and later scored on a mishandled fly ball off the bat of Mitch Garver down the right field line with two outs. Haar drove in Garver in the next at-bat to record his 18th double-bagger of the season.

Daniel Hurtado (1-1) exited the mound for Burlington with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. The Bees’ starter finished after 4 2/3 frames where he allowed four runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks.

Greg Mahle took over in the fifth out of the bullpen and recorded the final out to get out of the frame. Mahle finished after 2 1/3 scoreless frames where he walked one and struck out five.

The Bees cut the lead in half 4-2 in the sixth when Angel Rosa scored on a Mike Fish two-out RBI double down the line in right field. Rosa was hit by a pitch on two outs before scoring his second run of the night for Burlington.

Lewis Thorpe (2-2) ended a terrific start with men on the corners and two outs in the top of the sixth. Thorpe recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts in the start where he surrendered two runs on four hits while walking a single batter. Chih-Wei Hu is the only other Kernels pitcher to match 10 strikeouts in a game, and he accomplished the mark Saturday at Dayton.

Chris Mazza pitched the Kernels out of the sixth in relief as he took the mound with two away. Mazza tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings where he struck out one and allowed one hit.

Ronald Muck took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth for Burlington. The right-handed pitcher threw one full inning where he gave up two runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.

The Kernels added two insurance runs in the eighth to push the advantage to 6-2. Bryan Haar began the frame with a single to left field and later scored on a Tanner Vavra one-out infield single to shortstop. Alex Swim beat out a throw at the plate to tally the inning’s second run on a Ryan Walker sacrifice fly to left in the next at-bat.

Reliever Jake Reed opened the eighth frame for the Kernels and finished the game with two scoreless innings of work to secure the 6-2 victory for Cedar Rapids. Reed picked up his first save of the year in the outing where he collected two strikeouts.

The Kernels face the Bees in game two of the series Wednesday evening at 6:35 p.m. It’s another Free Money Wednesday, where First Federal Credit Union will give away $500 at the main gates at every Wednesday home game with $100 as the top cash prize for fans 18 years of age and older.

RHP Ryan Eades will take the mound in game two against Burlington’s RHP Garrett Nuss at home on Wednesday.
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