Gross, Gray Highlight 6-2 Victory
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A winning start from Ben Gross and a solid night at the plate from Seth Gray lifted the Cedar Rapids Kernels to a 6-2 triumph Friday over the South Bend Cubs in front of a season-high crowd of 2, 244 fans at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Kernels (20-20) grabbed a 3-0 lead within the bottom of the third inning. Gray's RBI single was followed by an RBI force out from Wander Javier, and he would score from first base on a double by Trey Cabbage. Those three unearned runs put Derek Casey (3-4) in line for the loss. Casey led all pitchers Friday with seven strikeouts.
South Bend (18-21) scored in the fourth and fifth innings to slice its deficit to 3-2. Caleb Knight hit an RBI double that plated Jake Slaughter, and Tyler Durna's RBI groundout drove in Bradlee Beesley. Gross (1-0) only allowed two unearned runs in a season-high-tying five innings pitched while adding six strikeouts and earning his first win of the year.
Javier provided a critical insurance run for Cedar Rapids during the seventh. Spencer Steer led off with a triple. Two batters later, Javier singled past a drawn-in infield for a 4-2 advantage.
Gray put the Cubs away in the eighth. With one out, the Kernels loaded the bases on Max Smith's double, Gabriel Maciel's bunt single, and Steer's walk. Gray came through by bouncing a two-run single into right field that carried Cedar Rapids to a 6-2 lead.
Relief pitchers Melvi Acosta and Zach Featherstone each tallied two shutout innings to record the hold and the save, respectively. Featherstone's save was his first since August 3, 2017 with the Rookie-Level Gulf Coast League Twins.
Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium will host the next encounter between the Kernels and the Cubs at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. The probable pitchers are Cedar Rapids right-hander Cody Laweryson (0-0, 2.25) and South Bend right-hander Ryan Jensen (2-3, 6.04). Chris Kleinhans-Schulz will call the action on www.kernels.com and MiLB.TV.
There will be postgame fireworks following this tilt and all other Saturday home games this year. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free pass to the Great Jones County Fair which will take place July 21 through July 25. A UFG "Worth It" presentation is also scheduled for Saturday's contest.
Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids 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 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. On Sundays when the Kernels have a home game, the Kernels Ticket Office will open at 11:00 a.m.
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