CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Cedar Rapids Kernels were stymied by strong pitching from the Clinton LumberKings in a pair of losses Saturday at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Kernels dropped the two games by scores of 4-1 and 6-0.
In the first game of the twin-bill, the LumberKings defeated the Kernels in Cedar Rapids for the first time since September, 2012. The 4-1 victory was buoyed a strong pitching performance from Clinton lefty Eddie Campbell. Campbell tossed five innings without allowing the Kernels to score, striking out five Cedar Rapids hitters while only allowing two hits - singles from Zach Larson and Zack Granite.
For the second game in a row, the LumberKings plated a run in the opening frame of the contest. Austin Wilson drove in Ian Miller with a two-out single to put Clinton on top, 1-0. Clinton added another run in the second inning as Christian Carmichael hit a home run to left field in his first at bat of the season.
The Kernels had runners in scoring position in both of the first two innings, but could not score on Campbell.
Clinton's power continued into the fourth inning when Tyler O'Neill drove a ball over the left field wall with one out to give the LumberKings a 3-0 lead. The lead was extended to four on a two-out RBI single by Lonnie Kauppila.
Kernels starter Randy Rosario's day ended in the fourth inning as the left-hander ended his outing allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, surrendering two walks. Rosario took the loss for the Kernels. Brandon Bixler had a strong showing in relief, holding Clinton scoreless over two and a third innings of work, allowing just one hit while striking out two. Felix Jorge added a scoreless inning for the Kernels.
The Kernels tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring their first run of the game on an RBI double from Michael Quesada, bringing in Bryan Haar from first. However, Clinton reliever Leoncio Munoz was able to retire Logan Wade on a groundout to end the inning, and set the Kernels down in order in the seventh inning to end the ball game.
The second game of the doubleheader was an early pitcher's duel between right-handers Ryan Eades of the Kernels and Carlos Misell of Clinton. The game was scoreless through four innings with the LumberKings finally breaking through in the fifth inning with three runs.
A sacrifice fly from Zach Shank broke the draw to give the LumberKings a 1-0 lead. The LumberKings would make it 2-0 with a two-out RBI single by Marcus Littlewood.
Eades was strong in his first four innings of work before running into trouble in the fifth. Eades finished with three strikeouts and three walks in his first professional start, taking the loss.
Clinton then pulled ahead 3-0 on another RBI single - this one by Tyler O'Neill. Zack Larson threw out Marcus Littlewood trying to score, but the LumberKings had established a lead they would not relinquish.
Clinton received another quality start, as righty Carlos Misell made the most of his first professional start. Misell tossed five innings without allowing a run, surrendering just four hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Misell, who collected the win, and Emilio Pagan combined to retire the final 14 Kernels hitters of the game.
The LumberKings scored three more runs in the seventh inning. Shank doubled and later scored on a throwing error. The lead was extended to 5-0 on an RBI double by Littlewood, and the scoring was finished when Littlewood came in to score on a double play to make it 6-0.
Brandon Peterson went one and a third innings for the Kernels, allowing no runs and three hits. Alex Muren allowed three runs over his only inning.
The Kernels conclude their opening weekend home series v. Clinton, the Midwest League affiliate of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m.
It's a Run the Bases Sunday, sponsored by Planet X. After every Sunday home game fans can run the bases, play catch on the field, and get autographs from the Kernels, sponsored by Planet X with media sponsor 104.5 KDAT. Enjoy the balloon artistry of Papa Balloon on the concourse and face painting by Kennedy.
Kernels fans attending Opening Week games (April 3-6) will receive a free Kernels 2014 Magnet Schedule, presented by Wells Fargo.Kernels fans attending Opening Week games (April 3-6) will receive a free Kernels 2014 Magnet Schedule, presented by Wells Fargo.The Kernels will send Twins 2013 first-round selection RHP Kohl Stewart (0-0, 0.00) to the mound on Sunday while the LumberKings counter with LHP Jake Zokan (0-0, 0.00).
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.