Chiefs get it Dunn in MWL opener

Cards' fifth-rounder delivers go-ahead hit in ninth inning

Nick Dunn compiled a .980 OPS in his junior year at the University of Maryland. (Rick Nelson/

By Vincent Lara-Cinisomo / | September 8, 2018 9:48 PM

In the ninth inning, Peoria got it Dunn.

Nick Dunn delivered a go-ahead two-run single as the Chiefs outlasted Cedar Rapids, 5-3, in Game 1 of the best-of-3 Midwest League semifinals on Saturday at Perfect Game FIeld.

"It was exciting," Dunn said of his key hit. "In that situation, you're looking to get at least one run in and to get a ball into the outfield and get both guys in. It was pretty exciting."

Video: Chiefs' Dunn gets big hit

The ninth-inning line drive was the third hit of the game for the 2018 fifth-round Draft pick, who batted .330/.419/.561 as a junior at the University of Maryland.

"For some reason, I like to ... I feel almost more comfortable hitting with guys in scoring position," Dunn said. "It's just one of those things that you kind of like as a hitter. For me, I feel more comfortable because I know I have a better opportunity to get any type of job done, whether it's bringing a guy in with a ground ball, sac fly, anything."

Gameday box score

The single capped a see-saw ending after Cedar Rapids right-hander Bryan Sammons limited the Chiefs on two hits through six innings. The Kernels built a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Ryan Jeffers in the first and a run-scoring double by David Banuelos in the fourth.

Peoria rallied in the eighth against righty reliever Zach Neff as Zach Kirtley and Dunn sandwiched singles around a strikeout by second-ranked Cardinals prospect Nolan GormanAndres Luna singled home Kirtley to get the Chiefs on the board and, after Justin Toerner beat out a grounder to first to load the bases and Rayder Ascanio forced a runner at home, 16th-ranked Luken Baker dumped a single into right-center to put Peoria ahead.

• Complete postseason coverage »

The Kernels tied it in their half and nearly went ahead as Gabriel Maciel walked and Michael Davis doubled into the right field corner. Maciel was thrown out at the plate by right fielder Yariel Gonzalez, but Davis took third and scored on a base hit by pinch-hitter and Twins No. 25 prospect Jacob Pearson.

MiLB include

Banuelos followed with a drive to left that Luna misplayed for a double, moving Pearson to third. No. 12 prospect Akil Baddoo was intentionally walked, but Michael Helman bounced into an inning-ending double play.

The Chiefs opened the ninth with singles from Julio Rodriguez and Kirtley. Gorman grounded out to first, moving both runners into scoring position and setting the stage for Dunn's heroics.

Dunn is clearly enjoying his first taste of the postseason as a pro.

"The way I look at it, it's another game. You still have to prepare the same way and go about your at-bats and everything else the same way," he said, "but obviously, they mean a little more than the regular season. That just makes it more fun."

Kodi Whitley, who induced Helman's double play, got the win. 

Game 2 is Sunday in Peoria.

In other MWL playoff action:

Bowling Green 6, West Michigan 5

Jim Haley's two-run triple gave the Hot Rods an early lead and they survived take Game 1 of the other best-of-3 semifinal series. Haley also singled and walked twice. Rays No. 7 prospect Ronaldo Hernandez and Trey Hair also had RBIs for the winners, who got 5 2/3 solid innings from 20th-ranked Resly Linares (1-0). West Michigan got a two-run homer from Brady Policelli and had a chance to win it in the ninth, but Matt Seelinger got Colby Bortles to pop out with runners on second and third. Gameday box score

Vince Lara-Cinisomo is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @vincelara. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

View More