CEDAR RAPIDS, Ia. - Griffin Jax tossed 6 2/3 innings in his final start before reporting to active duty with the U.S. Air Force, and the Cedar Rapids Kernels (13-16, 52-47) defeated the Lansing Lugnuts (10-19, 47-48) on Saturday night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Jax (Win, 2-1), the Minnesota Twins' third-round selection from the Air Force Academy in 2016, limited the Lugnuts to a Nash Knight RBI grounder in the sixth and a Rodrigo Orozco sacrifice fly in the seventh before departing to a standing ovation.
The Kernels' offense, meanwhile, scored eight runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings against Lugnuts starter Andy Ravel (Loss, 6-5), including a three-run homer by Ben Rortvedt in the third inning.
Geno Encina pitched the next 3 2/3 innings, allowing only a solo home run to Trey Cabbage in the seventh.
The Lugnuts pulled within 9-4 in the eighth on a pair of runs against reliever Logan Lombana, only to see the Kernels put the game away with a three-run rally off Denis Diaz in the home half.
In the loss, both Knight and Ridge Smith collected two hits. Left fielder Nick Sinay was hit by a pitch for the league-leading 28th time and added a leaping catch at the wall.
Nuts right-hander Kyle Weatherly (12.71) starts the middle affair of the three-game series, opposing Kernels lefty Anthony Marzi (1.37) at 3:05 p.m.
The next Lugnuts home game is a Winning Wednesday on July 26 against the Dayton Dragons, opening a seven-game homestand. Tickets may be purchased at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, by calling (517) 485-4500 or via lansinglugnuts.com.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.