The playoff-contending Cedar Rapids Kernels hit three home runs to rally past the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 4-1 on Tuesday night at Perfect Game Field. Gabe Snyder hit a pair of round-trippers to help send the Kernels past Wisconsin.
The Rattlers (29-35) got on the board first with a run in the top of the fifth inning. Gabriel García walked, stole second, and went to third on a wild pitch to start the inning. Connor McVey drew a walk with one out to put runners on the corners. Je’Von Ward sent a grounder to second and McVey was tagged for the second out, but Ward beat the throw to first to allow García to score.
The Kernels (35-30) tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Snyder hit a solo home run with two outs to even the score 1-1. That was the first home run given up by Wisconsin starting pitcher Logan Gillaspie in 51-2/3 innings this season.
Jared Akins gave Cedar Rapids the lead in the bottom of the sixth when he cracked a two-out solo home run to right. It was the seventh home run of the season for Akins.
García singled with one out in the top of the seventh against reliever Carlos Suniaga. Then, McVey drew a walk with two outs. Both runners were stranded as Suniaga got a strikeout to end the frame.
Snyder, who is heading to the Midwest League All-Star Game next week, gave the Kernels some breathing room when he hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Snyder’s second homer of the game was his fifth of the season and it put Cedar Rapids up 4-1.
The Rattlers managed one base runner in the final two innings, a walk to Jesús Lujano in the ninth, but they never threatened.
Austin Schulfer was the starter for the Kernels and he allowed one run on one hit over six innings for his fifth win of the season. Schulfer, Carlos Suniaga, and Derek Molina combined for thirteen strikeouts and to hold the Rattlers to a pair of hits in the game.
The loss was the fourth straight for Wisconsin as they fell to a season-low six games under .500.
Cedar Rapids picked up ground on the Burlington Bees in the First Half Western Division Wild Card race. The Bees lost at Kane County on Tuesday night. Those results allowed the Kernels to move to one game back of Burlington in the Wild Card standings with five games left in the first half of the season.
Game two of the series is Wednesday afternoon at Perfect Game Field. Justin Jarvis (0-0, 5.87) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. The Kernels have named Kody Funderburk (0-0, 0.00) as their starter. Game time is 12:05pm. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and the TuneIn Radio app starting with the Papa John’s Pizza Pregame Show at 11:45am. MiLB.tv subscribers can watch the game over the internet.