CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers took an early lead against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Thursday night at Perfect Game Field. But, the Kernels rallied with two key, two-out hits in the second and third innings to support starting pitcher Bailey Ober's impressive performance for an 8-1 win.
Zach Clark started the game with a double for the Rattlers (36-47 overall, 5-9 second half). Trever Morrison cashed in the opportunity with a two-out single to right to drive in Clark.
The Kernels (44-40, 12-3) had two outs with no one on base in the bottom of the second inning when Jared Akins reached on a slow chopper to short for an infield single. The hit was the first of the Midwest League season for Akins, who had started 0-for-19 in his first five games for Cedar Rapids. A walk on a 3-2 pitch to Ben Rodriguez extended the inning. Then, Jordan Gore cracked a three-run homer to right. The homer was the second of the season for Gore. Both of his home runs have been against the Timber Rattlers.
Cedar Rapids loaded the bases in the bottom of the third inning on an error, a walk, a fielder's choice, and another walk. Then,. Akins stepped to the plate with two outs and lined a triple to the gap in right-center to drive in his first three Midwest League RBI of the season.
Jacob Pearson had an RBI single and Royce Lewis drove in a run with a fielder's choice in the bottom of the fourth to give the Kernels an 8-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Ober settled into cruise control. He retired fifteen in a row after the RBI single by Morrison. Darren Seferina broke that streak with a two-out double in the sixth, but Ober got the final out of the sixth and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end his night. He allowed three hits, walked none, and set a new single-game high for strikeouts as a professional with twelve. Ober has 29 strikeouts and two walks in 17-2/3 innings against the Timber Rattlers this season.
Jose Cuas kept the Kernels in check with three perfect innings out of the Wisconsin bullpen. Matt Hardy also contributed from the pen with a perfect eighth.
Jared Finkel pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Ober and issued a walk without allowing a hit to close out the game.
Thursday's game was the final meeting of the regular season between the teams. Cedar Rapids won nine of the games in the series. The Rattlers won six. Wisconsin was 2-7 against the Kernels at Perfect Game Field.
The Timber Rattlers return home Friday night to begin a four-game series with the Peoria Chiefs. Carlos Herrera (1-5, 5.33) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Peoria has named Alex Fagalde (3-2, 2.09) as their starting pitcher. Game time is 7:05pm.
Have a few boat drinks and cheeseburgers in paradise to celebrate Margaritaville Night with fellow Parrotheads and a special post-game performance by The Boat Drunks. The first 1,000 fans into the stadium will receive a poster of Timber Rattlers catcher KJ Harrison courtesy of Brew Pub Pizza.
Arty's Old Fashioned drinks will be available to fans 21 and over for $3 on an Arty's Old Fashioned Friday presented by WIXX. Stick around after the game to enjoy a FOX11 postgame fireworks display. Children 14 and under may participate in Kids Run the Bases thanks to Menasha Corporation after the fireworks display.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 6:45pm. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. Subscribers to MiLB.tv can watch the game over the internet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.