CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - The Kernels avoided elimination on Sunday night with a 3-2 walk-off win over the Clinton LumberKings in Game 2 of the Western Division Championship Series. DaShawn Keirsey's RBI single capped off a two-run ninth inning for the victory. The last five wins at home for Cedar Rapids have ended with a walk-off single in the ninth inning.
The win forces a decisive Game 3 on Monday in Cedar Rapids at 6:35 p.m. The winner of Monday's game advances to the Midwest League Championship Series.
The Kernels trailed 2-1 going into the ninth. All four batters in the inning reached base. Matt Wallner started the inning by reaching on a throwing error by Christopher Torres. Seth Gray then singled to put runners on the corners. Tyler Webb's RBI single to right scored pinch-runner Daniel Ozoria. Keirsey's RBI single scored Gray from second base to end the game.
Rickey Ramirez (1-0) threw three scoreless innings for the win in relief. He struck out four and allowed one hit and no walks.
Zach Wolf was charged with a blown save for Clinton, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits in the ninth.
Clinton took a 1-0 lead right away in the first inning. Christopher Torres began the game with a walk before Peyton Burdick singled to left field. On the play, Torres moved towards third and scored on a fielding error by left fielder Webb.
Webb doubled and scored a run for the Kernels in the second inning, tying the score 1-1. Webb's double to left-center was his fourth extra-base hit of the playoffs. He came home when DaShawn Keirsey followed with a RBI single down the left field line.
20 out of the next 23 batters were retired by Clinton pitching until the ninth inning.
The LumberKings manufactured a run in the second inning and jumped ahead 2-1. Kameron Misner drew a walk to begin the frame before Will Banfield singled through the right side of the infield. A wild pitch by Kernels starter Kody Funderburk put two men in scoring position. Evan Edwards scored Misner when he drilled a sacrifice fly to center.
Funderburk exited after 3.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out five and walked three.
Dylan Thomas threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief for the Kernels. The only runner to reach against him came with a single to start the sixth. A diving catch by Webb in left, and an inning-ending double play quickly ended the threat.
Tanner Andrews started for Clinton and struck out eight over six innings. He allowed one run on four hits with one walk. After the Keirsey's RBI single in the second inning, he retired 14 of final 16 batters. Tyler Mitzel pitched two scoreless and hitless innings in relief.
The decisive Game 3 will be played on Monday in Cedar Rapids at 6:35 p.m. Tyler Palm (3-10, 4.09) is scheduled to start for the Kernels against Clinton's Alberto Guerrero (9-6, 3.13). You can listen to the action on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com, and www.kernels.com.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling 319-896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office will open at 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.