BELOIT, Wis. - The Kernels topped the Beloit Snappers 4-2 at Pohlman Field on Saturday night in the opener of the final series of the regular season. Cedar Rapids improved to 75-63, matching a season-best 12 games above the .500 mark.
Bryan Sammons (3-1) picked up the win for the Kernels as the southpaw allowed one unearned run and three hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked one. Evan Sanders earned a hold, allowing one run over two innings. Patrick McGuff secured his first save, not allowing a run or hit over the final two innings.
Matt Milburn (7-11) took the loss for Beloit over six innings of work. The right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits, striking out five and walking two. Joseph Camacho threw three scoreless innings in relief.
Beloit took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Jason Goldstein became the first Snapper to reach base when he singled with one out. He made it to third base after a single and an error. Mike Martin's RBI sacrifice fly to center plated Goldstein for the game's first run.
The Kernels scored three runs right away in the top of the fourth, taking a 3-1 lead. Travis Blankenhorn started the rally with his league-best 11th triple of the season. He quickly scored on Aaron Whitefield's RBI single. Lewin Diaz then singled, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Diaz's single moved Whitefield to third, allowing him to score on Jimmy Kerrigan's RBI groundout. Two batters later, Diaz came home on Shane Carrier's RBI single to center.
Cedar Rapids extended the lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning. Jordan Gore singled to left. He reached third after a wild pitch and throwing error. Blankenhorn's RBI sacrifice fly brought in Gore for the team's final run. Blankenhorn has now recorded at least one RBI in seven of his last eight games.
Beloit added a run in the sixth inning, making the score 4-2. J.C. Rodriguez walked to start the inning and scored on a RBI single by Miguel Mercedes.
Carrier, Gore and Whitefield finished with two hits each.
The middle game of the series is tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. RHP Randy Dobnak (0-0, 0.00) makes his Kernels debut while Beloit counters with LHP Zack Erwin (6-4, 2.22).
Cedar Rapids opens up the 2017 Midwest League playoffs at home on Wednesday night against the Kane County Cougars, the Midwest League affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. First pitch of the best of three series is at 6:35 p.m. Game two and three, if necessary, will be played at Kane County.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.kernels.com or through the Kernels Ticket Office at 319-896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 am. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Fans can listen to the play-by-play action on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM, as well as online at www.kernels.com and www.kmryradio.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.