Minor League Sports

With doubleheaders looming, Cedar Rapids Kernels get important pitching in win

Sammons, Brown combine for 5-hitter in 9-2 victory over Clinton

CEDAR RAPIDS — Thank you, Bryan Sammons. Many kudos, Nick Brown.

With back-to-back doubleheaders on the way, the Cedar Rapids Kernels needed a good pitching performance Friday night. Just to save their staff.

That’s where Sammons and Brown came in, the duo combining on a five-hitter and a 9-2 win over Clinton at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Sammons got the win, Brown the save.

Well done, boys.

“I didn’t necessarily go into the game thinking that was ideal or anything,” said Sammons, about going six innings. “Every start I go into I want to go as deep into the game as I can. I’m not so much worried about strikeouts or anything like that. I just want to go as deep into the game as I can and help my team win as much as it can.”

This was the first win of the season for the left-hander from Western Carolina University, though it’s not as if he has thrown poorly. His earned run averaged dipped to 2.70 with this outing, in which he gave up just three hits, walked none and struck out eight.

Brown got the next three innings for his first save. Clinton’s Ryan Costello got them both for home runs.

“Sammons did a really nice job tonight,” said Kernels Manager Toby Gardenhire. “He was pounding the zone, and that’s the biggest thing for him. There are times when he gets a little erratic. Tonight he didn’t have that all. He pounded the zone with all of his pitches, and that was really good to see.”

“Locating my fastball early, so I could use my cutter later in the game,” Sammons said. “That’s what I have struggled with this year, is my fastball command. Being a lot better with that tonight helped me work off of it.”

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The Kernels (22-21) got a 3-for-3 game from catcher Ben Rortvedt and a 3-for-5 night from Jean Carlos Arias, who came up a home run shy of the cycle. Shane Carrier also had two hits and two RBIs.

Cedar Rapids and Clinton play a twin bill Saturday afternoon at 5:05, then another one Sunday afternoon at 2:05.

“Not having to pitch a bunch of guys tonight, that was great,” Gardenhire said.

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

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