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Written by Scott Kornberg   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 13:26

Critical error in three-run Kernels eighth drops Bandits for 15th time in 20 games

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (August 19, 2014) – The Cedar Rapids Kernels scored three runs in the eighth inning, helped by a critical error, to come back and win their season-best eighth in a row 5-3 over the Quad Cities River Bandits, who have now lost seven of eight and 15 of 20.

With Quad Cities ahead 3-2, River Bandits reliever Albert Minnis walked J.D. Williams to start the bottom of the eighth before fanning Zack Larson. An Engelb Vielma single put runners on first and second and then Tanner Vavra doubled down the right field line to bring in Williams and tie the game at three. With just one out and runners on second and third, Quad Cities brought the infield in. Minnis got a groundball off the bat of Jonatan Hinojosa right at Bandits second baseman Jose Fernandez, who threw low to the plate, with the ball getting by Quad Cities catcher Brett Booth and roll all the way to the backstop to score Vielma. Booth went to retrieve the ball as Vavra raced home, but Minnis was unable to handle his throw back to the plate as Cedar Rapids grabbed the 5-3 advantage. Fernandez was charged with an error as Minnis (2-2) gave up three runs, just one earned, in two innings to ultimately suffer the loss.

The River Bandits grabbed an early lead when Marc Wik drilled a solo home run, his fourth of the year, to straightaway center against Cedar Rapids starter Kohl Stewart in the first.

Quad Cities was able to add to their lead in the second. Booth doubled with one out and James Ramsay walked before Stewart left the game with an apparent injury. Kernels reliever Jared Wilson issued a wild pitch to advance the runners up to second and third, respectively, before striking out Dayne Parker. Another wild pitch then brought in Booth to make it 2-0 River Bandits.

Cedar Rapids answered with a Vielma RBI single in the bottom of the second.

After Fernandez doubled to lead off the third, Wik immediately singled him home to make it 3-1 Quad Cities. However, the River Bandits would not get another runner in scoring position.

The Kernels began chipping away when Vielma launched his first home run of the year, a solo shot, to left off of Quad Cities starter Blaine Sims to pull Cedar Rapids to within 3-2. Vielma went 4-for-4 with two RBIs while scoring the game’s deciding run in the eighth. Sims earned a no-decision, scattering 11 hits over six innings while allowed two runs with a walk and five strikeouts. He stranded at least one Kernel in every single inning.

The winning pitcher was Mat Batts (2-0), who fired five scoreless innings of relief, giving up just two hits while fanning six. He retired the last 13 River Bandits to come to the plate.

Jake Reed worked a perfect ninth for his second save of the season. The Kernels right-hander has now worked 17.2 straight scoreless innings, the longest streak of any Cedar Rapids pitcher this year.

The win pushed the Kernels to a season-best seven games over .500 at 67-60, 35-21 in the second half while Quad Cities dropped to 61-65, 26-31. The River Bandits will try to salvage the three-game set by sending Chris Lee (6-6, 4.04 ERA) to the mound tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. against Cedar Rapids’ Stephen Gonsalves (2-2, 1.57).

UP NEXT: The season's final homestand opens with MidAmerican Energy Day and Family Sunday presented by KWQC and B100 at 1:15 p.m. Aug. 24. Pregame autographs are at 12:30 p.m., Bark in the Park means dogs are welcome to the Modern Woodmen Berm, and Kids Run the Bases after the game. The River Bandits are then home through Aug. 29. Tickets are available at www.riverbandits.com.

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