The Cedar Rapids Kernels used a four-run rally in the top of the ninth inning to shock the Quad Cities River Bandits in the final game of their series on Monday night at Modern Woodmen Park. The Kernels became the first team this season to sweep a series from the Bandits and handed Quad Cities a season-high fourth consecutive loss.
The River Bandits (12-6, 51-37) brought a 5-2 lead into the top of the ninth with Jose Alberto Rivera still on the mound having already cruised through 4.0 scoreless innings. Rivera walked the first batter of the frame to bring the top of the lineup to the plate and Jacob Pearson responded with a single to right field that put two on with no outs. After striking out pinch-hitter Jared Akins for the first out, Rivera was removed from the game in favor of Layne Henderson. The new reliever allowed a single to Gilberto Celestino that loaded the bases and then walked Gabe Snyder to force in a run. A wild pitch let Cedar Rapids close within 5-4 and put two more in scoring position. Henderson struck out Wander Javier for the second out and had two strikes on Tyler Webb when the left fielder lofted a shallow fly ball toward center field that dropped out of the reach of center fielder Ramiro Rodriguez and gave the Kernels the decisive runs needed for their 6-5 victory.
The Bandits had already watched a 2-0 lead slip away earlier in the contest. Rodriguez led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, his first round-tripper of the year, to hand the River Bandits a quick 1-0 advantage. Grae Kessinger's infield single in the third inning drove in Rodriguez from second base to make it 2-0.
Cedar Rapids (10-7, 53-30) pulled even on a two run single by Ricky De La Torre in the top of the fourth only to watch the Bandits move back ahead in the bottom half. Alex McKenna launched his first home run of the year, also a solo blast, to right center that put the home team in front 3-2. Cesar Salazar provided some cushion with his two-out, two-RBI, double in the seventh before the Kernels last inning comeback.
Salazar paced all hitters with a 3-4 day at the plate including two runs batted in. The Bandits outhit the Kernels 11-6 as three other members of the lineup each totaled a pair of knocks. Only Celestino had multiple hits for the Kernels.
Felipe Tejada, the Bandits starter, was removed after 4.0 innings of work, having allowed two runs on three hits and six walks. Out of the pen, Rivera tossed 4.1 innings and surrendered two runs on one hit and a walk while striking out eight.
The River Bandits will enjoy an off day on Tuesday before making their final trip of the season to the Eastern Division. The team returns to action on Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. against the West Michigan Whitecaps. In the first game of the series, the Bandits will toss LHP Jonathan Bermudez (2-0, 4.66) and West Michigan will go with RHP Wilkel Hernandez (6-5, 4.05).
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.