GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Cedar Rapids Kernels grabbed an early lead against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and their pitchers would not let it go on Wednesday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Kernels topped Wisconsin 6-1.
The Kernels (35-47 overall, 4-8 second half) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Zack Granite started the game with a double. Chad Christensen singled with one out to drive in Granite. The Kernels loaded the bases on a single by Bryan Haar and a two-out walk to Jason Kanzler. Then, Alex Swim lined a single to right to knock in Christensen and Haar.
Cedar Rapids added to their lead in the top of the second. Granite scored from third on a wild pitch by Rattlers starting pitcher Barrett Astin.
Swim struck again in the top of the fifth with a two-out single to drive in JD Williams from second base and the Kernels were up 5-0.
Wisconsin (43-39, 7-6) got to Kernels starter Lewis Thorpe in the bottom of the fifth. Rafael Neda singled to start the inning. Thorpe struck out the next two batters, but gave up singles to Johnny Davis and Chris McFarland to load the bases. Thorpe was replaced one out shy of qualifying for the win. Chris Mazza took over to face Michael Ratterree.
Ratterree sent a hard grounder to third that Haar made a nice play on after a tough hop. But, Haar dropped the ball making the transfer to throw to first and all hands were safe with Neda scoring. Clint Coulter was next and he sent a hard grounder to third, too. But, Haar fielded this ball cleanly and stepped on third to force McFarland for the final out.
Cedar Rapids tacked on an unearned run against Astin in the top of the sixth. Tanner Vavra reached on an error. There were two errors on one play after a grounder off the bat of Ryan Walker that put Vavra on third base. Engleb Vielma slow chopper to short allowed Vavra to score the final run of the game.
Four Cedar Rapids pitchers combined to strike out the Timber Rattlers 14 times and held the Rattlers to an unearned run on seven hits. Thorpe recorded eight strikeouts in 4-2/3 innings. Mazza had three in 1-1/3 innings. Alex Muren (2) and Hudson Boyd (1) finished off the Rattlers in the final three innings.
The final game of the series is Thursday night. Tyler Alexander (4-3, 3.67) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Ryan Eades (5-7, 6.17) is set to start for the Kernels. Game time is 7:05pm.
Thirsty Thursday presented by Arty's Old Fashioned and 95.9 KISS FM means 22-oz Pepsi products, 16-oz Miller products, or Arty's Old Fashioned drinks for just $2.
Thursday is the final game of the Military Appreciation Series presented by American National Bank-Fox Cities. Take home one of the military-themed jerseys by submitting the winning bid in the silent auction that ends in the seventh inning of this game. But, enjoy the postgame fireworks first…just like the Founding Fathers would have wanted.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, you may follow the action several ways. The television broadcast will be on MYNEW 32's Sports Showdown starting at 7:00pm. The radio call is on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. The game will also be available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
WP: Chris Mazza (1-2)
LP: Barrett Astin (5-4)