COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps finished a lengthy homestand on a high note with a 7-4 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels in front of 4,233 fans on a breezy and cool Saturday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The victory enabled the Whitecaps to pick up back-to-back wins in the three-game series with the Kernels and earn a split of the six-game home stretch.
Pitcher Carlos Guzman started for West Michigan, while the Kernels countered with righty Cole Sands. Cedar Rapids took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning with a Yeltsin Encarnacion RBI-single. The Whitecaps responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame as Johnny Valente's two-run single gave the 'Caps a 2-1 advantage. Guzman held the lead until relinquishing a Gabe Snyder solo home run in the sixth to even the score at two. The 'Caps answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame. A Nick Ames RBI-double and a Chris Proctor two-run single off Kernels reliever Moises Gomez increased the Whitecaps lead to 5-2. Cedar Rapids narrowed the deficit to 5-3 with a solo run in the seventh, but Ames delivered an RBI-single as part of a later in the inning to extend the 'Caps lead to 7-3. The Kernels added a run with a David Banuelos RBI-double off Whitecaps reliever Sandel De La Cruz in the eighth to make the score 7-4, but Angel Reyes secured the Whitecaps victory with a perfect 1.1 innings of relief.
West Michigan recorded ten hits on the night as Valente led the way with three hits. Valente has reached base in 17 straight games. Wenceel Perez and Proctor each contributed two hits for the 'Caps and two singles by Ames increases his consecutive game hit streak to twelve. Guzman (2-2) evened his record with his second win -- his first since April 6. Guzman worked a season-high six innings, scattered five hits, struck out three and allowed only two earned runs. Reyes pitched 1.1 innings, struck out two while picking up his fourth save of the season. Sands (1-1) absorbed the loss, allowing four earned runs, seven hits, and tying a season-high with eight strikeouts. West Michigan improves to 16-18 with the victory while Cedar Rapids drops to 15-20 in 2019. The series represents the only meeting between the two ballclubs in 2019.
The Whitecaps enjoy a Mother's Day off-day on Sunday before hitting the road for a three-game series against the in-state rival Lansing Lugnuts starting Monday at 7:05 pm. Pitcher Garrett Hill starts for West Michigan against Lansing pitcher Josh Winckowski. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.