Trey Cabbage sac fly in 7th gives Cedar Rapids Kernels a 2-1 win over Beloit

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Psst, don’t tell any opposing managers about this. Trey Cabbage hits his fellow left handers better than he does righties.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels infielder-outfielder put together a quality at-bat against Beloit southpaw Zack Erwin in the seventh inning Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium that resulted in a line-drive sacrifice fly to deep center field that scored the winning run in a 2-1 C.R. victory before 3,676 fans.

That fits the pattern of what Cabbage has done in his somewhat limited time here in the Midwest League. He came in hitting .265 against lefties and .197 against righties.

His strikeout ratio also is lower against left-handers. No, he can’t figure it out, either.

“Honestly, I usually have trouble with lefties because I try to do too much,” Cabbage said. “They pick the corners, and I get too big sometimes. I’ve worked a lot with hitting coach Jeff Reed down there in Fort Myers (in extended spring training) and then at Elizabethton. He worked with me a lot on staying through the middle and staying in the left-center gap, because there a lot of hits there for a lot of left-handed guys. Especially when they’re working you away.”

Caleb Hamilton reached leading off the seventh on a throwing error and went to third on Shane Carrier’s one-out hustle double to center. That extended Carrier’s hitting streak (achieved here and Rookie-level Elizabethton combined) to 23 games.

Starter Erwin was left in, no pun intended, to try and get Cabbage, but the parent Twins’ fourth-round draft pick in 2015 worked a 2-1 count and smoked a ball with an exit velocity of 108 miles per hour.

“The first at-bat, he was kind of working me middle, up with the fastball, and then the second at-bat, he tried to go in with the fastball and soft away,” Cabbage said. “This time, he was staying away, making sure there was nothing I could turn on. Luckily enough, I worked a good count, Shane and Hammy were in a good position, and I was just trying to get a run in and help us out.”

Cabbage was promoted from E-town in early July, scuffled at the start but seems to have gained some traction.

“It’s been a lot different because there are a lot more breaking balls thrown in hitters' counts,” he said. “At Elizabethton, a lot of guys are coming out of college, the pro guys, the coaches, are trying to see what they’ve got, so they’re grooving fastballs in there. A lot of times, it’s a hitter league ... Here, there are a lot less mistakes made. So if you don’t take advantage of mistakes, you are going to struggle, like I did early. I’m still trying to come out of it.”

Starter Anthony Marzi (5-2) threw seven quality innings to get the pitching win for the Kernels (65-59, 26-28), with Ryan Mason and Hector Lujan finishing up. Lujan stranded the tying run at third base to notch his 14th save.

The teams play again Saturday night at 6:35.

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

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