PEORIA, Ill. - The Peoria Chiefs scored all five runs in the third inning on Sunday to beat the Kernels 5-0 and sweep the best-of-three Western Division Championship Series. The Kernels season ends, and Peoria advances to the Midwest League Championship Series.
Peoria sent nine batters to the plate and took a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Nick Plummer started the inning with a walk, and Justin Toerner singled to put two on. After a strikeout, Luken Baker was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Zach Kirtley's two-run single to right scored both Plummer and Toerner, putting the Chiefs up 2-0. Dennis Ortega then reached on an infield single to load the bases. Nick Dunn followed with a RBI single that scored Baker, making the score 3-0. Nolan Gorman's RBI groundout to the right side brought Kirtley in and extended the lead to 4-0. Ortega came home on a wild pitch by Kernels starter Blayne Enlow, and the Chiefs were in front 5-0.
Enlow (0-1) took the loss, allowing five earned runs on six hits over three innings. Melvi Acosta went four scoreless innings in relief while Moises Gomez pitched one perfect inning.
The offense was unable to get anything going against Peoria's starter Jake Dahlberg (1-0). The southpaw tossed eight scoreless innings for the win and struck out a career-best nine batters. He allowed just four hits and walked one.
Cedar Rapids picked up a pair of singles in the ninth but the combination of relievers CJ Saylor and Patrick Dayton ended the game
The Peoria Chiefs advance to the Midwest League Championship Series where they will play either Bowling Green or West Michigan in a best-of-five series that starts on Wednesday in Peoria.
The Kernels begin the 2019 season at home against Peoria on Thursday, April 4 at 6:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.