Kernels get back to back homers in victory

 Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda hit home runs on consecutive pitches in a late Cedar Rapids Kernels comeback attempt Wednesday, but the Fort Wayne TinCaps picked up an 8-4 win at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Fort Wayne (12-8, 44-45) also secured a 1-0 advantage in this three-game series at Cedar Rapids (13-7, 45-44).

The TinCaps scored in each of the first four innings of Wednesday’s opener. Luis Campusano’s RBI single and Esteury Ruiz’s RBI groundout in the opening stanza ignited Fort Wayne’s offense. Kelvin Melean added a run-scoring single during the second inning, and Tirso Ornelas came home on a wild pitch in the third. Luis Almanzar produced a two-run home run within the fourth that stretched the TinCaps’ lead to 6-0.

A pair of unearned runs during the top of the sixth put Fort Wayne’s edge at 8-0. The TinCaps loaded the bases with two outs in the inning before an error allowed Almanzar to score. Melean tallied a run of his own via wild pitch.

Lewis and Miranda highlighted a four-run Kernels rally in the seventh that cut Cedar Rapids’ deficit in half. Trey Cabbage led off with a triple and scored on David Bañuelos’ sacrifice fly. Later in the frame, Lewis crushed a two-out, two-run blast off the batter’s eye. Miranda lifted the next pitch over the left-field wall for a solo shot to pull the Kernels within 8-4. Lewis and Miranda each have an active-team-high nine homers this season.

Luis Patiño (3-3) posted a scoreless start prior to the Kernels’ late outburst and earned the victory Wednesday. Patiño only allowed three hits and two walks over five shutout innings. He also recorded a game-high five strikeouts.

Tyler Watson (2-4) suffered the loss for Cedar Rapids. Watson yielded a career-high eight runs including six earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched.

This three-game series continues Thursday at 6:35 p.m. with Kernels right-hander Bailey Ober (5-1, 4.87) scheduled to face TinCaps right-hander Mason Thompson (6-5, 4.92). Live coverage of the contest will be available 1450 KMRY AM and 93.1 KMRY FM and also online at www.kmryradio.com,www.kernels.com, and MiLB.TV. Thursday’s game will also be broadcast via tape delay by Mediacom MC22.

First Federal Credit Union Flat Screen Thursday invites fans aged 18 and older to pick up a free raffle ticket for a chance to win one of three 40-inch flat screen televisions that will be given away during the game. 94.1 KRNA Thirsty Thursday includes $2.00 prices for 12 oz. regular draft beer and 20 oz. bottled soda or water. College Night offers a $9.00 package for a club ticket and two regular hot dogs to students that present a college ID at the Kernels Ticket Office. This year’s Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame inductees will be honored prior to Thursday’s contest as part of Hall of Fame/Alumni Recognition Night.

Fans can purchase tickets for all Cedar Rapids home games by visitingwww.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.

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