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MWL: Kernels complete sweep with 6-1 win
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The Kernels finished the month of July with a 6-1 win at home over the Burlington Bees, completing a three-game sweep. Chih-Wei Hu collected his fourth consecutive victory with a strong performance over six innings pitched. Hu has hurled six innings in each of his five starts for the Kernels this season.
Cedar Rapids utilized home runs by Mitch Garver and Max Murphy to move past the Bees and attain their fourth sweep on the year. Murphy and Garver totaled two RBIs while Ryan Walker and Michael Quesada each added a single run-batted-in to help the Kernels end the month with a tremendous record of 19-9.
Mitch Garver blasted the Kernels into the scoring column in the first inning on a two-run home run over the left field wall. Chad Christensen took a base on balls in the previous at-bat with two outs in the inning and scored on Garver's team-best 15th long ball of the year.
Engelb Vielma legged out a triple to lead off the second inning for the Kernels and later scored on a Ryan Walker sacrifice fly to left-center field. Walker's run-batted-in gave Cedar Rapids an early 3-0 advantage.
Kody Eaves put the Bees on the board in the top half of the third with an RBI double deep into the alley in right. Erick Salcedo tallied Burlington's first hit with one out earlier in the inning and scored on Eaves' extra-base hit to make it 3-1.
Burlington starting pitcher Victor Alcantara (6-5) labored through his first two frames, but settled in to toss five total innings on the hill. Alcantara surrendered three runs on four hits with one walk, a hit batter and four strikeouts in the losing effort.
Cole Swanson took over in the sixth for the Bees on the mound. The southpaw gave up three runs on two hits over 2 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts in the relief outing.
Max Murphy delivered for the Kernels with a towering home run to centerfield in the bottom of the sixth. The homer marked Murphy's first of the season for Cedar Rapids after hammering nine on the year for the Elizabethton Twins.
Chih-Wi Hu (4-0) ended a terrific outing after six innings on the mound where he allowed one run on four hits. Hu tallied one walk and four strikeouts in his fifth straight six-inning tenure.
Brandon Bixler entered in the seventh for the Kernels and threw two shutout innings out of the bullpen to hold the lead. Bixler allowed one hit and two walks alongside three strikeouts on the night.
Alan Busenitz came to the mound with two outs in the eighth and surrendered the two run-scoring hits in the inning. Busenitz finished with two hits allowed in just 1/3 of an inning and recorded the only putout on a strikeout.
Jared Wilson closed the ninth for the Kernels and retired all three men he faced to ensure the 6-1 win over Burlington.
The Kernels plated two runs for insurance with back-to-back RBI singles in the eighth. Max Murphy and Michael Quesada drilled singles to left-center field to bring in Logan Wade and to improve the lead to 6-1.
The Kernels travel to Beloit for a three-game road trip beginning on Friday through Sunday to open up the month of August. Cedar Rapids will return home on Monday, August 4, where they begin a seven-game home stand that features a three-game set with Wisconsin and a four-game series with the Kane County Cougars.
LHP Stephen Gonsalves takes the hill for the Kernels to open the series at Beloit as the Snappers send RHP Kyle Finnegan to toe the rubber.