The momentum never fully swung in the favor of the Beloit Snappers (67-69), as they fell 5-2 Saturday night to the Cedar Rapids Kernels (77-60) on Fan Appreciate Night at Pohlman Field in front of 2,718 fans.
Scoreless on both sides through the first two innings, Cedar Rapids erupted in the third for three runs on two hits. Their first run came on a bang-bang play, when Michael Helman stole second base. Due to the throw from Snappers catcher Robert Mullen to second, Ariel Montesino came home from third and stole home, his second steal of the inning, for the first run to make it 1-0 Kernels.
Later in the inning, cleanup hitter Trevor Larnach and Ben Rodriguez both cracked RBI doubles and pushed the lead to 3-0 after the third. For Rodriguez, his hit gave him 21 consecutive games reaching base safely.
Hunter Hargrove began the fourth inning with a double, the first extra-base hit of the game for Beloit. He would come around to score on an RBI groundout from Ryan Gridley to make it 3-1 and get the Snappers on the board.
The Kernels would get the lead back at three, when Ryan Jeffers rewarded Helman's one-out single with a double to score Helman and make it 4-1. For Helman, his single extended his hitting streak to eight straight games.
Cedar Rapids would also tack on another run in the top of the ninth, when Helman grounded into a double-play but Montesino came home score from third and make it 5-1.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth, Jack Meggs grounded to the shortstop Michael Davis. Davis made a nice play to get the force out at second, but his throw to first sailed wide left. The throwing error allowed Logan Farrar to score from third after he advanced there on the hit, making it 5-2.
Nick Allen would ground out to third in the ninth, as Montesino made a nice backhand throw to first to retire Allen, for the third out to end the game.
Kernels starter Carlos Suniaga earned his second consecutive win this season, just his first two starts of the season. He threw a season high seven innings, allowing just five hits and one run to go along with five strikeouts. Right-hander Jared Finkel earned his third save of the season.
Jean Ruiz took his 12th loss of the season in his start for the Snappers in his five innings of work. Ty Damron, Brandon Withers and Joseph Camacho combined for four innings and gave up just the one run in the ninth.
Austin Beck had another multi-hit game for the Snappers, going 2-for-4. For Beck, it was multi-hit game number 41 on the season, most on the team. Hunter Hargrove had a nice game with two hits and a run scored.
Saturday night was the 48th time this season the Snappers opponent has score first and gone on to win. It was also just their 16th time they have lost the series opening this season.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers defeated the Kane County Cougars 2-1 Saturday night and with the win and a Snappers, Beloit moved a half-game behind the T-Rats in the standings. The Snappers sit one game out of Kane County for the wild-card spot.
Game two of the series will be on Sunday the 2nd and a 2:00 p.m. first pitch. Sunday's game is a 2-for-1 BOGO & Mercy Health System's Day. Check the Wednesday edition of the Stateline News, Janesville Messenger, & Walworth County Shopper for your BOGO Coupon for Reserved Seat tickets (up to two free tickets per coupon) to Sunday home games. Following the game, kids 12 & under get to run the bases & fans of all ages can play catch in right field, courtesy of Mercy Health. Leinie's 12-oz. cans and 16-oz PBR cans are just $2.
Starting game two for the Snappers will be left-hander Jhenderson Hurtado (0-2, 6.88). Opposing him for the Kernels will be right-hander Randy Dobnak (10-5, 3.12).
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and have been the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. For more ticket information, contact the Snappers office at (608) 362-2272 or on our website, www.snappersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.