CLINTON, IOWA - Jacob Pearson hit a go-ahead grand slam Wednesday at Ashford University Field and lifted the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 6-3 win over the Clinton LumberKings. The tie-breaking home run was Pearson's first professional grand slam and the Midwest League-high seventh bases-loaded blast for the Kernels (29-16, 61-53) this season.
Cedar Rapids jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Akil Baddoo crushed his fourth leadoff homer of the year to start the contest. Ryan Jeffers followed with a single and moved to third base on Trevor Larnach's double. Michael Helman added an infield single that allowed Jeffers to come home.
Tyler Watson opened with five shutout innings for the Kernels, but the LumberKings (21-24, 60-55) rallied within the sixth and tied the contest at 2-2. A single by Billy Cooke and back-to-back walks for Joseph Rosa and Keegan McGovern loaded the bases. Melvi Acosta replaced Watson, but he walked Onil Pena and gave up a game-tying single to Dimas Ojeda before collecting three outs in a row to end the inning.
Pearson provided his pivotal round-tripper during the top of the seventh. Baddoo reached on an error and stole second base prior to a walk from Jeffers and a single for Larnach. Three batters later, Pearson launched a grand slam to right field that put Cedar Rapids back in front, 6-2.
Jose Martinez kept the Kernels ahead over the final three frames and earned his team-high sixth save. Martinez tossed perfect seventh and eighth innings to begin his relief outing. He yielded a solo home run to Ariel Sandoval within the ninth but bounced back with three consecutive outs and finished the contest.
Acosta (2-4) was charged for the blown save but also picked up the victory over Clinton. Sam Delaplane (4-2) suffered his second loss against the Kernels this season after allowing four unearned runs in two innings pitched.
Game two of this three-game series is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Kernels right-hander Randy Dobnak (7-4, 3.54) will pitch against LumberKings right-hander Tyler Jackson (1-1, 6.41). Broadcast coverage with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will be available on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand begins Monday, August 13 and continues through Friday, August 17. Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. 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.