CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – A wild one tonight with the Cubs and Kernels trading blows ended with Cedar Rapids edging out a 5-3 victory, despite only registering four hits.
Similar to what we saw in a midweek game last week at Perfect Game Field, tonight’s game came down to walks proving too costly for Cubs pitchers. The most critical part of the game was the bottom of the fifth. The Cubs led 3-2 but Cedar Rapids hung a three-spot on the combination of Adam Laskey and Joe Nahas, and did so with just one hit in the inning. Brooks Lee smoked a double down the line in left to start the inning and three walks, a hit batsman, and a balk later (all with two outs) it was 5-3 in favor of the home team.
Porter Hodge didn’t have his best stuff tonight but put up a gritty four innings allowing just two runs. After posting a regular season ERA with South Bend of just 2.01, he consistently dealt out of stretch with runners aboard Thursday night. Hodge walked two in the first inning and got out of a bases loaded jam without allowing a run.
The Kernels squandered their first scoring opportunity and the Cubs cracked open the scoring the next half inning. Facing Travis Adams for the second time in a matter of eight days, South Bend got to the righty from Sacramento State this go around for three runs. Owen Caissie doubled to the wall in right in the second and Luis Verdugo dumped in a single to center to give the Cubs an early lead.
In a back-and-forth affair the Kernels tied it later that inning as a leadoff walk of Jefferson Morales came back to bite Hodge. In the third Wander Javier cranked a solo homer out to left field to give Twins affiliate their first lead of the night.
Trailing for the first time since their eighth-inning rally on Tuesday, the Cubs offense again turned the deficit around. With one out in the fourth Luis Verdugo again played a major factor, this time ripping a double up the first-base line. With two outs Pablo Aliendo scorched a line drive single into left to tie the game. The next inning, with Adams still out there, Fabian Pertuz belted a towering homer down the left field line to put the Cubs ahead 3-2. That was the last pitch Adams would throw.
Then came the bottom of the fifth where the Cubs simply just beat themselves. South Bend pitchers walked seven on the night, hit another two, and balked once with the bases loaded.
Cedar Rapids bullpen carried them the rest of the way…