The Quad Cities River Bandits could not contain Cedar Rapids outfielder Alex Kirilloff as they fell to the Kernels by a 6-5 score on Tuesday night at Veterans Memorial stadium. Kirilloff went 3-4 with a triple, a home run, and three runs scored.
The River Bandits didn't take long to open the scoring. Jake Meyers doubled into the right field corner on the first pitch of the game and then advanced to third on Jonathan Arauz's right side bouncer. Ruben Castro followed with a roller to second of his own, this one scoring Meyers and giving the Bandits a 1-0 lead.
Cedar Rapids struck back with a crooked number in the bottom half. Akil Baddoo opened the frame with a single to right and scored on Kirilloff's booming two-run home run to left center. The long ball was his sixth of the season. Ben Rodriguez reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by Sierra at third. Andrew Bechtold plated Rodriguez with his single into right field and Cedar Rapids had built a 3-1 advantage.
The Bandits bounced back in the top of the second. Bryan De La Cruz led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on Jonathan Lacroix's double to right. Lacroix used some hustle to tie the score, racing home from second base on a wild pitch from Kernels starter Edwar Colina. The ball bounced off the backstop and high into the air up the first base line, leaving nobody covering the plate.
The Kernels moved back in front in the home third. Kirilloff led off with a single and quickly moved to third on another base hit from Rodriguez. Jean Carlos Arias bounced to second base, allowing Kirilloff to score and pushing the Kernels in front 4-3.
Quad Cities evened things in the top of the sixth. De La Cruz walked to start the frame and moved into scoring position on a groundout by Corey Julks. After a Kernels pitching change brought on left-handed reliever Jovani Moran, Lacroix punched a single into center to tie the game at four.
Kirilloff continued his assault on River Bandits pitching with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the seventh. The next hitter, Rodriguez lifted a sacrifice fly into center field and Kirilloff raced home to give Cedar Rapids a 5-4 lead.
Jose Miranda added to the Cedar Rapids lead with a solo home run in the eighth inning off of Dariel Aquino. That turned out to be huge because Miguelangel Sierra hit his first home run as a River Bandit in the top of the ninth to pull the Bandits within 6-5. However, Jake Adams grounded out to end the game in the next at bat.
Starting pitcher Yohan Ramirez went 3.2 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked four. Tanner Duncan relieved him with 3.1 innings during which he allowed one run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Aquino allowed the home run, walked a batter and struck out a pair in his only inning on the hill.
The River Bandits (19-17) and Kernels (17-15) will play a rare day-night doubleheader on Wednesday. Both games are scheduled for seven innings with the opener beginning at 12:05 p.m. and the nightcap getting started at 6:35 p.m. The River Bandits will have RHP Cristian Javier (1-1, 2.25) on the mound in the first game and turn to RHP Luis Garcia (1-1, 1.64) in the second. Cedar Rapids will start LHP Tyler Watson (2-1, 3.22) and RHP Randy Dobnak (3-1, 4.91).
All River Bandits games are broadcast on 1170 K-BOB and TuneIn Radio. Home games are also available with video on MiLB.TV.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.