CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Bryan Haar powered the Cedar Rapids Kernels past the Clinton LumberKings with a 4-3 season-opening win at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
Haar drilled a walk-off home run to deep left field with one out in the bottom of the tenth inning, putting the Kernels at 1-0 on the season.
The Kernels committed five errors on a chilly night but still found themselves in extra innings with the LumberKings.
Hudson Boyd (1-0) recorded the victory for the Kernels on the mound, tossing two shutout innings with one strikeout. The losing pitcher for Clinton was Ramire Cleto (0-1), who faced just two hitters and allowed the game-ending home run.
The Kernels trailed for the first three and a half innings before rallying to take the lead.
Clinton plated the first run of the season as leadoff hitter Aaron Barbosa reached on an infield single and came around to score on an RBI groundout by Austin Wilson in the top of the first inning.
The LumberKings would score again in the third inning when Tyler O'Neill blooped a RBI single into short center field, scoring Jack Reinheimer with two outs to expand the Clinton lead to 2-0.
That was all Kernel starter Aaron Slegers would give up in his five innings of work, as the 6-foot-10 right-hander struck out five Clinton hitters and walked none while giving up five hits in a no-decision.
The rally for the Kernels began in the bottom of the fourth inning. Joel Licon and Zack Larson clubbed back-to-back doubles off Clinton starter Edwin Diaz, who pitched into the fifth inning and allowed four hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Cedar Rapids then tied the game on a RBI sacrifice fly by Bryan Haar, making the score 2-2.
Clinton loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning, but relief pitcher Christian Powell induced a double play ball from Jeff Zimmerman to escape the inning.
The first Kernels lead of the season came in the bottom of the seventh inning. Engelb Vielma ripped a triple to right field and scored on a Zack Granite RBI sacrifice fly. The Cedar Rapids-lead would not last long as the LumberKings tied the game in the top of the eighth. Zach Shank scored from second base on a Kernels error, evening the game 3-3.
The LumberKings had runners on second and third in the top of the tenth. However, Clinton's Ian Miller was doubled off second base on a fly out to left field, ending the inning and leading to Haar's heroics in the bottom half of the inning.
The Kernels opening weekend home series v. Clinton, the Midwest League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, continues through Sunday afternoon.
Friday's game begins at 6:35 p.m. It's a Kernels Friday Mug Club Night, sponsored by 98.1 KHAK! Buy a 16 oz. souvenir mug filled with your favorite regular draft beer or soda for just $6.00 and get refills for just $3.00 at the concession stands! Bring the mug back to every Friday home game for those $3.00 refills! It's also Captain American Movie Theme Night as the Kernels celebrate the release of the new Captain American movie with a t-shirt giveaway! Fans can also receive a free 2014 Magnet Schedule, presented by Wells Fargo.
Kernels fans attending Opening Week games (April 3-6) will receive a free Kernels 2014 Magnet Schedule, presented by Wells Fargo.Kernels fans attending Opening Week games (April 3-6) will receive a free Kernels 2014 Magnet Schedule, presented by Wells Fargo.The Kernels will send LHP Randy Rosario (0-0, 0.00) to the mound on Friday while the LumberKings (0-0) counter with LHP Eddie Campbell (0-0, 0.00).
Tickets are available at www.kernels.com! You can also visit the Kernels Ticket Office at Veterans Memorial Stadium or call 319-896-7560!
Kernels games are broadcast live on KMRY Radio (93.1 FM/1450 AM) and streamed online at www.kernels.com!