C.R. Kernels see 7-game win streak snapped by Bowling Green, 5-4

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CEDAR RAPIDS — They just had a long win streak snapped, but Cedar Rapids Kernels Manager Jake Mauer won’t so far as to say he thinks everything is coming together for his ballclub.

“We’re playing better,” Mauer said, after Bowling Green’s 5-4 victory Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. “With the addition of a couple of new guys, we’re more of a threat offensively. Our lineup is a little bit deeper than it was three weeks ago. I think that’s fair to say. Our outfield defense is 10 times better.

“But it’s hard for me to tell. We have some nights where we put it together. There are some nights where we beat ourselves, really.”

Like Wednesday night. A two-base throwing error on shortstop Sean Miller to begin the game led to a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first inning, and those turned out to be the difference as Cedar Rapids (51-44, 15-11) saw a seven-game ‘W’ streak come to an end.

Bowling Green has won eight straight.

Starting pitcher Lachlan Wells (2-2) didn’t have his best stuff and gave up five runs to take the loss. The Kernels scored all four of their runs in the fourth.

With two outs and no one on, Zander Wiel walked and scored on a Jaylin Davis double. Chris Ibarra then walked, and J.J. Fernandez hit a screaming line drive that hit the yellow line atop the tall fence in left for a game-tying three-run home run.

Zacrey Law led off the next inning with a homer that cleared the porch in left for what turned out to be the winning hit. The Kernels got a leadoff double from Luis Arraez in the sixth, but he didn’t move.

The tying run also was stranded at second in the seventh. In the ninth, Cedar Rapids had the tying run at second and winning run at first with two away, but Manuel Guzman — after a protracted at-bat — took a called third strike to end it.

“We just couldn’t get a hit tonight when we needed it,” Mauer said. “We needed a couple of guys to come through with runners in scoring position. What’d we go, 1-for-8? There you go.”

The Kernels swept all six games of their road trip east to Lake County and Fort Wayne, averaging just over six runs a game on the trip. Zander Wiel was last week’s Midwest League Player of the Week.

Jaylin Davis has come in from Rookie ball and provided pop in the middle of the order. Second baseman Luis Arraez has been on a tear, raising his batting average to .343 coming into Wednesday.

As Mauer said, the offense has come around. But he believes the pitching must follow suit and be more consistent.

“I’d like to say that. I’d like to say we’re getting on a roll,” he said. “But each day has been so different.”

The teams play again Thursday night at 6:35.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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