CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cedar Rapids used timely hitting and strong pitching to earn a series split with the Clinton LumberKings, claiming a 4-2 victory Sunday at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
For the fourth straight game in the series, the LumberKings struck first. They scored in the first inning when Jack Reinheimer drilled a triple to right-center field, bringing home Marcus Littlewood. Reinheimer came home on an RBI groundout by Austin Wilson to put Clinton up 2-0 in the opening frame.
After allowing the two runs on two hits in the opening frame, Kernels starter Kohl Stewart did not allow a hit in his final four innings of work. Stewart struck out two hitters and walked one in a no decision.
The Kernels cut the lead back to one run in the bottom half of the first inning. Bryan Haar hit a ball to the right-center field gap, bringing Joel Licon to the plate. The Kernels then tied the game in the second inning when Mitch Garver powered a pitch over the left field wall for his first home run of the season - a solo shot that tied the game 2-2.
Clinton starting pitcher Jake Zokan would allow no more, finishing his outing after five innings. The lefty allowed his two runs on five hits, striking out three Kernels while walking two in a no decision.
The game would remain tied into the bottom of the seventh inning. Facing LumberKings reliever Blake Holovach, Logan Wade drilled a solo home run onto the left field deck to put the Kernels on top, 3-2. The home run was Wade's first of the season. Holovach was charged with the loss for Clinton.
The LumberKings threatened in the top half of the eighth inning, putting runners on first and third. However, Josue Montanez was able to strike out Reinheimer to end the inning. Montanez earned a hold for his efforts on the mound.
The Kernels added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as Engelb Vielma clubbed a two-out single to center, bringing in Jeremias Pineda, who was pinch-running for Mitch Garver.
Hudson Boyd shut the door on the LumberKings in the ninth inning, forcing Clinton to go three-up, three-down. Boyd collected his first save. After the two-run first inning, Kernels pitching allowed just three hits over the last eight innings. The win was credited to Yorman Landa, who tossed two scoreless innings.
The Kernels now head east for a six-game road trip at Great Lakes and Lansing. The Kernels begin a three-game series at Great Lakes, the Midwest League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Midland, MI on Tuesday night at 5:05 p.m.
The Kernels are scheduled to send LHP Miguel Sulbaran (0-0, 0.00) to the mound on Tuesday night. Sulbaran previously pitched for Great Lakes in 2013 before being traded to the Twins organization and joining the Kernels. RHP Greg Harris is scheduled to make his first appearance in 2014 for the Loons.
The Kernels return home on April 14, opening up a six-game home stand against South Bend and West Michigan. The game on April 14 v. South Bend begins at 6:35 p.m. and is the first Dollar Monday of the season. Regular hot dogs, small popcorn, ice cream sandwiches, chips, and Cracker Jacks are each just $1 on Monday home games!
Tickets are available at www.kernels.com! You can also visit the Kernels Ticket Office at Veterans Memorial Stadium or call 319-896-7560!
Kernels games are broadcast live on KMRY Radio (93.1 FM/1450 AM) and streamed online at www.kernels.com!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.