Streaks Continue for Akins, Kernels
CLINTON, IOWA - Jared Akins homered for the third time in as many games to spark a comeback victory Friday as the Cedar Rapids Kernels earned a 6-5 win over the Clinton LumberKings in 11 innings at LumberKings Stadium. Cedar Rapids (19-22) recorded its season-high-tying third victory in a row while taking a 2-0 lead in this four-game series at Clinton (19-20).
During the third inning, Jerar Encarnacion launched the LumberKings to a 3-0 advantage. Two-out singles by Demetrius Sims and Sean Reynolds kept the inning alive, and Encarnacion hit a three-run home run to right field that put Clinton in front.
Akins answered in the eighth to tie the contest at 3-3. Batting with two outs and two baserunners aboard, he belted his own three-run blast to right field for Cedar Rapids. Akins became the first Kernels hitter with a three-game homer streak since Zander Wiel in July 2016.
Friday's tilt was tied heading into extra innings, and the teams remained even after the 10th inning. Jacob Pearson gave Cedar Rapids a 4-3 lead with an RBI single, but Clinton pulled even, 4-4, when Reynolds produced a run-scoring single.
The Kernels surged ahead again during the 11th inning and held on for a 6-5 victory. Akins scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and Yeltsin Encarnacion's RBI single drove in Estamy Ureña. A pinch-hit double from J.D. Osborne brought the LumberKings within a run before back-to-back strikeouts ended the rally and the contest.
Zach Neff (1-0) registered a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed just two unearned runs over three innings pitched to pick up the victory. Tyler Jones (1-2) was the losing pitcher after giving up both Cedar Rapids runs within the 11th.
In addition to matching its best win streak of the year, Cedar Rapids tied a season high with 15 strikeouts and rallied for their biggest come-from-behind victory in 2019. The 6-5 triumph also marked the first extra-inning contest for the Kernels out of 41 games played this season.
Up next, Kernels right-hander Cole Sands (1-1, 2.59) will pitch against LumberKings right-hander George Soriano (0-3, 4.94) Saturday at 6:30 p.m. to continue this four-game series. Coverage of Saturday's contest will be available on 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY and also online at www.kmryradio.com and www.kernels.com.
Cedar Rapids' next homestand runs from Monday, May 20 through Monday, May 27. 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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