116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Matt Canterino is pretty good.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels pitcher gave up just two hits and a run, striking out a career-high 10 over a career-high six innings as he and his team picked up a 2-1 win Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium over the Beloit Snappers.
The teams have split the first four games of their six-game series. They’ll play again Saturday night at 6:35 and Sunday afternoon at 2:05.
A 23-year-old right-hander, Canterino was a second-round draft pick of the parent Minnesota Twins in 2019 out of Rice University. He finished the 2019 Midwest League season with the Kernels but has come back here to the High-Class A Central League and been great in his first three starts.
He has a 1-0 record and 1.29 earned run average in his first three starts. He has given up just seven hits in 14 innings of work, with just three walks and 25 strikeouts.
Against Beloit, Canterino retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced. He gave up just a single to start the game to Thomas Jones and a solo, opposite-field home run to Kameron Misner in the fourth inning.
“I would say the main focus for tonight was getting ahead early and staying ahead like during the at-bats,” Canterino said. “Just playing to my strengths. I was fortunate to be able to watch all of our other starting pitchers this series, and they’ve really done well. So just picking up on what they were doing.
“If you got ahead on strikes early, you’re either going to put yourself in plus counts to get them out later on, or they’re going to get themselves out.”
The Kernels (8-8) had crushing back-to-back losses the previous two nights in games they led going to the ninth inning. But that didn’t happen here, finally.
Jordan Gore relieved Canterino and had two shutout innings. Melvi Acosta retired Beloit (8-8) in order in the ninth for his first save.
Those pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts.
Offensively, Cedar Rapids scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The fourth-inning run happened when Matt Wallner led off with a single, went to third on a Wander Javier double and scored on a Trey Cabbage groundout.
In the fifth, Leobaldo Cabrera walked with one out and eventually scored on a two-out Wallner single to center field. Wallner went 2-for-4 to raise is season batting average to .331.
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