COMSTOCK PARK, MICH. - The West Michigan Whitecaps scored six runs in a tiebreaking fourth-inning rally to secure the lead in an 8-1 victory Friday night against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Fifth Third Ballpark. West Michigan (15-18) and Cedar Rapids (15-19) are now tied at 1-1 in a three-game series that will wrap up Saturday evening.
Miscues allowed both the Whitecaps and the Kernels to plate an early run. Reece Hampton was hit by a pitch to open the bottom of the first and later scored on a throwing error during a pickoff attempt. Cedar Rapids tied the game, 1-1, during the third when Yeltsin Encarnacion came home via balk.
West Michigan took a 7-1 lead within a pivotal fourth inning. Jordan Pearce put the Whitecaps ahead for good with an RBI single. Avery Tuck brought in the next run during a bases-loaded walk. A wild pitch allowed Pearce to score a run of his own. Hampton added an RBI groundout, and Parker Meadows finished the fourth-inning outburst on a two-run double.
One final run in the seventh gave the Whitecaps an 8-1 advantage. Ulrich Bojarski's single coupled with an error allowed Meadows to score from second base.
Wilkel Hernandez (4-2) and Angel De Jesus pitched for the Whitecaps and recorded a win and a save, respectively. Hernandez earned his team-high fourth victory after allowing one run over six innings within a quality start. De Jesus held the Kernels scoreless in the final three frames for his third save of the year while tallying a season-high seven strikeouts.
West Branch, Michigan native Tyler Palm (1-3) took the loss in his home state. Palm yielded six runs including five earned runs in three-plus innings pitched.
The finale of this three-game series and six-game Cedar Rapids road trip is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET (6:05 p.m. CT) Saturday. Kernels right-hander Cole Sands (1-0, 1.73) and Whitecaps right-hander Carlos Guzman (1-2, 2.88) are the probable pitchers. Broadcast coverage with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will be available on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand features four games in three days beginning with a doubleheader May 13. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids Kernels home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels are the Midwest League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.