Cedar Rapids wins, 6-5, in finale of three-game road series
DAYTON, OHIO – Despite allowing three home runs to the Dayton Dragons, the Cedar Rapids Kernels bounced back and took a 6-5 victory in 10 innings Wednesday at Fifth Third Field. Shane Carrier’s go-ahead single in the top of the 10th helped Cedar Rapids grab the win and avoid a three-game sweep by Dayton.
Carrier’s decisive hit boosted the Kernels (18-14) to their winning margin of 6-5. Travis Blankenhorn and Caleb Hamilton each received one-out walks ahead of Carrier, who singled to right field to bring in Blankenhorn. Kernels reliever Colton Davis and Tom Hackimer combined for a scoreless bottom of the 10th to wrap up a wild win.
The Dragons (22-11) forced extra innings after a season-best third home run Wednesday night. Michael Beltre reached on a one-out walk, and Taylor Trammell lifted a game-tying blast to left field that evened the score at 5-5.
Dayton used earlier home runs from John Sansone and James Vasquez to get a pair of early leads. Sansone produced a solo shot in the first inning for a 1-0 Dragons lead. During the fourth, Vasquez hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer that gave the Dragons a 3-1 advantage.
Cedar Rapids had quick responses for each round-tripper. Ben Rortvedt delivered an RBI single in the second inning that plated Hamilton and tied the game at 1-1. Facing a two-run deficit in the fifth, Ariel Montesino drove in Aaron Whitefield with a sacrifice fly, and Lewin Diaz scored the tying run after an error to force a 3-3 tie.
An apparent go-ahead home run by Sansone in the fifth inning was changed to a foul ball and kept the game tied at 3-3. Sansone clubbed a deep fly ball down the left-field line that was initially ruled fair, but the call was reversed after a discussion between the umpires.
The Kernels rallied in front for a 5-3 lead prior to Trammell’s clout. Montesino scored the go-ahead run during the seventh after a Diaz single coupled with an error. Whitefield came home in the top of the ninth on another sacrifice fly by Montesino.
Davis (1-1) was charged for a blown save in the ninth but also picked up a victory Wednesday following a scoreless start to the 10th inning. Hackimer recorded his third save of the season by striking out Avain Rachal at the end of the game. Patrick Riehl (0-1) gave up Carrier’s go-ahead single in the 10th and was handed a loss.
Cedar Rapids continues its six-game road trip Thursday at 6:35 p.m. with the opener of a three-game series at the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Kernels right-hander Sean Poppen (1-0, 1.89) is slated to face Hot Rods southpaw Travis Ott (2-2, 3.28). Listen to the coverage with Chris Kleinhans-Schulz on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
The next Kernels homestand begins May 15 with a doubleheader at 5:30 p.m. against the Peoria Chiefs. Fans can purchase tickets for all Kernels home games by visiting www.kernels.com, going to the Kernels Ticket Office, or calling (319) 896-7560. The Kernels Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.