DAVENPORT — There will be a third game.
Jared Akins doubled home a run in the top of the seventh inning to give the Cedar Rapids Kernels a 2-1 win over Quad Cities in Game 2 of a Midwest League Western Division semifinal playoff series Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
The Kernels and River Bandits will play a winner-take-all Game 3 Friday night on the banks of the Mississippi River. Cedar Rapids will go with Josh Winder (7-2, 2.65 earned run average in regular season) on the mound, opposed by Matt Ruppenthal of Q.C. (5-7, 4.33).
“Josh has been our most consistent guy all year,” said Kernels Manager Brian Dinkelman. “If you get to an elimination game, he’s probably the one you want out there. We’re excited to have Josh on the mound, and hopefully he can give us another good start like he has all year.”
As has been the case with most of the games between these games this season, this one was well pitched. Matt Canterino allowed two hits and a run in five innings, striking out eight for Cedar Rapids.
“He pitched awesome for us tonight,” Dinkelman said. “He had all of his pitches working, didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning. He did really good for us tonight.”
Quad Cities starter Brett Daniels was also typically great, giving up five hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings, striking out 10. The tell-tale top of the seventh began with DaShawn Keirsey Jr. drawing a walk, though he was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Tyler Webb then doubled to left, with Akins clutching up with his two-out, run-scoring double to left-center. Webb has been huge in this series, as he plated C.R.’s only run of a 4-1 loss in Game 1 with a solo home run and had a clutch two-out RBI single in the fourth inning here.
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Quad Cities tied things at 1-1 on a two-out Alex McKenna run-scoring single. Reliever Dylan Thomas got the pitching victory with two shutout innings for the Kernels.
Rickey Ramirez threw hitless eighth and ninth innings for the save.
“They both gave us two huge innings,” Dinkelman said. “Came in throwing strikes, punched some guys out. So it was good pitching tonight for all three of our guys.”
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