Minor League Sports

Bechtold bomb lifts Cedar Rapids Kernels to doubleheader split

Cedar Rapids Kernels’ first baseman Ben Rodriguez (23) collides with Bowling Green Hot Rods’ Connor Hollis (5) at first place in the first game of their double-header at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Hollis was safe on first. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kernels’ first baseman Ben Rodriguez (23) collides with Bowling Green Hot Rods’ Connor Hollis (5) at first place in the first game of their double-header at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Hollis was safe on first. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — He salvaged a difficult night with one clutch swing.

Andrew Bechtold’s go-ahead home run with two outs in the fifth inning helped the Cedar Rapids Kernels beat Bowling Green 6-4 in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Bowling Green won the opener, 3-2.

Bechtold, C.R.’s third baseman, had nothing going at the plate up to what turned out to be his final at-bat. He struck out in his first four plate appearances and grounded routinely to second.

But he took an elevated fastball from losing relief pitcher Nick Padilla the other way over the right-field fence for a 5-4 Kernels lead. Chris Williams added a solo jack in the sixth.

“Yeah, it was frustrating, but every at-bat matters, so you just try and stick with it and have a good attitude about it,” Bechtold said. “Half the battle is your attitude. I could have easily rolled over and folded. But I just tried to compete and do the best I could.”

The hit ended an 0-for-18 skid for Bechtold.

“Definitely felt good, especially because I’ve been on a little skid,” he said. “So to just find barrel on the ball feels good, especially heading into tomorrow now. To be honest with you, I’m happy about that. Taking that (last at-bat) into tomorrow. Roll with it, hopefully, and get back on track.”

The Kernels (12-13) and Hot Rods finish their three-game series Thursday night at 6:35. Hopefully Cedar Rapids will play better defensively than it did here.

Two of Bowling Green’s runs in the opener were unearned, as were two of their four in the nightcap. Cedar Rapids had only one hit in the first game but broke out for 11 in game two.

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Ben Rodriguez had a two-run double and RBI single. Yeltsin Encarnacion went 2-for-2 with a walk.

“We had better at-bats in the second game,” Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman said. “Made better contact.”

Tyler Palm (1-2) got the win in relief of second-game starter Austin Schulfer, with Joe Record recording his fifth save. Jose Rijo (0-3) threw well in the opener but suffered the loss.

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

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