May 5, 2013 - Midwest League (MWL) - South Bend Silver Hawks
Starting pitcher Brad Allen's debut for the South Bend Silver Hawks (19-8) was spoiled by the Cedar Rapids Kernels (20-8) on Sunday afternoon as the Kernels topped the Hawks by a score of 8-4. A four-run first inning gave Kernels starter Jose Berrios (3-0) a big lead to work with as he threw six innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts and three hit batters for the win.
Allen (0-1) got off to a rocky start as Kernels centerfielder Byron Buxton led the game off with a bunt single down the third base line. Shortstop Niko Goodrum drove a double into the right field corner to move Buxton around to third base. A passed ball allowed Buxton to score the first run of the game and moved Goodrum to third. Allen retired the next hitter on a short fly to center that was not deep enough to score Goodrum. First baseman Dalton Hicks lined a single to center with one out to score Goodrum and give the Kernels a 2-0 lead. Cedar Rapids loaded the bases with two outs for catcher Jairo Rodriguez. Rodriguez flared a single into right field to score two runs and extend the lead to 4-0.
Berrios held the Silver Hawks scoreless through the first five innings, maintaining the 4-0 lead for the Kernels. Cedar Rapids tacked on a fifth run in the top of the sixth inning when designated hitter Tyler Grimes scored on a sacrifice fly by Buxton. The Hawks managed to cut the lead to 5-2 in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Brandon Drury lined a double to center field to lead off the inning. On the very next pitch, first basemen Ryan Court doubled on a fly ball to right, scoring Drury. After a bunt moved Court to third, he came around to score on a wild pitch by Berrios.
Cedar Rapids, an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, immediately got the two runs back in the top of the seventh inning. Hawks reliever Thomas Brendel retired the first two batters he faced before right fielder Adam Brett Walker II beat out an infield single to short. Then, after a 12 pitch at-bat, Kernels third baseman Travis Harrison smashed a 3-2 pitch from Brendel into the Tiki Hut beyond the left field seats for a two-run homerun and a 7-2 Cedar Rapids lead.
South Bend, the Class-A Affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, rallied to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to cut the lead to 7-4 off Kernels reliever Steve Gruver. Court led off the inning with a single to right field. After Gruver struck out the next batter, catcher Steven Rodriguez singled up the middle to put two men on. Hawks centerfielder Breland Almadova hit a tailor-made double play ball to second but shortstop Goodrum could not handle the throw from second baseman Jorge Polanco, allowing Court to come home on the play. Hawks shortstop Pedro Ruiz lined a single to center to load the bases with one out. Gruver got right fielder Mike Lang to strike out swinging for the second out of the inning. Second baseman Kevin Medrano beat out an infield single to second to score one run before Almadova got caught in a run down after rounding third base and was tagged out to end the inning.
The Kernels picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. Hawks reliever Enrique Burgos was wild upon entering the game as he walked the first two batters he faced. Goodrum would eventually come around to score the final run of the game on an RBI single by Harrison. Gruver (S, 2) pitched the final three innings for the Kernels to earn the save.
The Midwest League Eastern Division-leading Hawks close out the six-game homestand on Monday night at 7:05pm against the Midwest League Western Division-leading Kernels with the three-game series tied at a game apiece. Matthew Tomshaw (1-0, 4.91 ERA) gets the start for the Kernels while Jesse Darrah (2-1, 2.45 ERA) takes the mound for the Hawks. It's Belly Buster Monday at Coveleski Regional Stadium, so upgrade your ticket and get all you can eat hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and peanuts.