Cody Hawn broke the scoreless game with home run off the scoreboard in right-center field. The homer was the fifth of the season for Hawn and it came off Kernels reliever Justin La Tempa.
The Rattlers got another run off La Tempa in the top of the eighth inning when Nick Shaw doubled down the left field line to send TJ Mittelstaedt across home plate.
Wisconsin (41-36 overall, 3-4 second half) cracked the scoreboard one more time. Chad Stang's fielder's choice sent pinch runner Franklin Romero home from third for what turned out to be an important run.
Nelson allowed four hits and walked two. Early on the Rattlers defenders helped out by turning three double plays. Nelson settled into cruise control as he went deeper into the game and retired the final ten batters he faced.
Closer Greg Holle entered the game in the bottom of the ninth. He walked the leadoff batter and allowed a ground rule double to put the first to Kernels on base. Jeremy Cruz singled to left to drive in a pair and make the score 3-2.
Kernels cleanup hitter Ricky Alvarez was next, by Holle induced a 4-6-3 double play to stop the momentum. Holle got the final out on a liner to left and picked up his sixteenth save of the season.
Holle is three saves from tying the franchise record for saves in a season. John Thompson recorded 19 saves in 1995, the first season of the Rattlers franchise.
Cedar Rapids falls to 34-43 overall and 2-5 in the second half.
Game two of the series is Friday night at Perfect Game Field. Wisconsin will send Del Howell (1-3, 4.03) to the mound. PJ Jang (0-1, 2.25) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Kernels. Game time has been moved back to 6:45pm. Tune in for the action on 1280AM, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:25pm.
Cody Hawn (5th, 0 on in 7th inning, off Justin La Tempa, 0 out)
WP: Jimmy Nelson (3-7)
LP: Justin La Tempa (2-5)
SAVE: Greg Holle (16)