Kernels power past Snappers

Staff Report

The Beloit Snappers’ pitchers will be seeing a lot of Pat Kelly in their nightmares over the next few days.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels’ second baseman hit his third home run of the season, all of which have come against the Snappers, and added a double, single, sac fly and a walk Monday at Pohlman Field to lead his team to a 12-3 win. His five RBI were more than the Snappers could plate against the Kernels in the last two games, and he ran his batting average against Beloit up to .352 (only .238 overall) so far this season.

The top of the order did the bulk of the hitting for the Snappers with centerfielder James Harris and second baseman Trent Gilbert combining to go 5 for 8 on the day. Harris led off the game with a home run, his second of the series and third of the year. Unfortunately for Beloit, the first inning lead would prove to be the only one for the home team.

The one run lead disappeared quickly for the Snappers in the top of the second, as starting pitcher Heath Fillmyer gave up four runs on three hits and a walk, including a three-run home run by DH Jorge Fernandez (2-5, 4 RBI in first game played in 10 days). Fillmyer lasted just an inning and a third in his first start since coming off the disabled list likely due to a strict pitch count.

Junior Mendez would come on in relief and pitch three and a third for the Snappers, allowing five runs on eight hits and two walks as he exited the field surrounded by coaches and the trainer, needing a drink of water. Cody Stull and Carlos Navas pitched the final four innings and gave up a combined three runs (two earned) on four hits apiece.

Kernels’ starter John Curtiss left after four and a third with an injury (5 hits, 3 runs, 1 BB, 3 Ks), but Michael Theofanopoulos did more than enough to make up for the early exit, earning the win by going 2.2 innings, allowing only four hits and striking out just as many. Randy LeBlanc closed out the game for Cedar Rapids with three strikeouts in two scoreless innings.

In total, the Kernels torched Beloit with 19 hits as the Snappers defense struggled to make plays in very windy conditions. While only one play was ruled an error for Beloit, at least three of the Kernels hits came on balls Snappers fielders lost in the wind. Perhaps the only bright spot for the Snappers fielding was catcher Jose Chavez, who picked off two runners in the game and threw out Kernels’ star shortstop Nick Gordon at second on a steal attempt in the first.

The Snappers are 18-27 on the season and head to Burlington, Iowa to take on the 22-21 Bees tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. The team won’t return to Beloit until Wednesday, June 3 when they’ll play Fort Wayne at 7 p.m.

To buy tickets, stop by the office at 2301 Skyline Drive in Beloit, WI or call 608-362-2272.

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