Cedar Rapids Kernels first baseman Aaron Sabato’s three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning snapped a 3-3 tie and sent the Kernels to an 8-3 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Saturday night at Perfect Game Field. Sabato has eight RBI in the series against Wisconsin. All of Wisconsin’s runs scored on solo homers
Tyler Black had the first solo shot, a lead-off homer in the top of the first inning, to put the Timber Rattlers (27-17) up 1-0.
The Kernels (29-15) took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Wisconsin starting pitcher Antoine Kelly walked the leadoff batter and hit the next Kernel before getting the next two outs. Will Holland was next for Cedar Rapids and he lined a triple to right-center to score both runners. A wild throw to third wound up in the Rattlers dugout to let Holland score on the play to give the Kernels a 3-1 advantage.
Wisconsin (27-17) used the long ball to get the game back to even. Wes Clarke hit a lead-off home run in the top of the fourth. Tristan Peters cracked a two-out homer in the top of the fifth.
Cedar Rapids went back in front in the bottom of the fifth. Sabato hit a three-run home run to right-center with one out and the Kernels we up 6-3. Sabato has seven hits, including two homers, in the first five games of this series. He has six of his hits in the three wins by his team in the series.
Alerick Soularie added to the Kernels lead with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.
The Kernels added one more run with a sacrifice fly by Soularie in the bottom of the eighth.
The home run by Sabato was the first allowed by Kelly this season. The Wisconsin left-hander went the first 43-2/3 innings of the year without giving up a homer. Kelly had seven strikeouts, allowed four hits, and walked four over 4-2/3 innings to get tagged with the loss in this game.
Saturday’s loss knocked Wisconsin two games behind the Kernels in the first half Western Division playoff race. There are 22 games remaining in the first half of the season.
The series finale is set for Sunday afternoon at Perfect Game Field. Ryne Moore (0-2, 16.71) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. The Kernels have named Sean Mooney (1-0, 1.04) as their starting pitcher. Game time is 2:05pm.