116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — This one’s gotta be hard to take. Real hard.
The Kernels are in win-or-go-home mode, as the series shifts back to Veterans Memorial Stadium for Thursday night’s Game 2. A winner-take-all Game 3 would be Friday night in Cedar Rapids.
“It’s always tough when you’ve got a lead late in the game, and they get two runs there in the eighth inning,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “Yeah, always tough in playoff baseball. But that was a good battle, we had our chances there to score some runs. We just needed one more hit there to get more runs, but we just couldn’t find it tonight.”
Dinkelman noted the top of the eighth inning, when Wander Javier hit a hard grounder up the middle on a 3-2 pitch with two on and one out. South Bend second baseman Fabian Petruz made a lunging grab of the ball, starting an inning-ending double play.
C.R.’s lone run came on a Pat Winkel home run in the first inning.
Petruz ended up getting the winning base hit in the bottom of the eighth, a single to center field that scored Pablo Aliendo. Yohendrick Pinango led off the inning with a bloop double to right-center field against relief pitcher Sean Mooney.
Bobby Milacki relieved Mooney, with Aliendo dropping a nice bunt toward the third-base line. Milacki fielded the bunt but appeared to slip a bit on his throw to first, burying it into the dirt, past first and down the right-field line, scoring Pinango with the tying run.
Aliendo was then bunted to third by Kevin Made.
“You’ve got to find some green grass, and they were able to do that a couple of times tonight,” Dinkelman said. “They got a bunt down. Things just didn’t fall our way tonight. We’ll come back Thursday, get ready to play and see if we can force Game 3.”
Cedar Rapids wasted a brilliant starting pitching performance from David Festa. The right-hander threw six innings, allowing just a pair of scratch singles and striking out 10.
According to the South Bend scoreboard, he threw one fastball 101 miles per hour.
“Had all of his pitches working,” Dinkelman said. “He was in cruise control there for six innings. He was really good tonight.”
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