Peoria, IL – The Peoria Chiefs couldn’t overcome an early deficit on Education Day and fell to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-6 on Tuesday afternoon The loss, their third in a row, drops to the Chiefs to 1-3 on the season with two games left in the series.
After a scoreless first inning, Andrew Bechtold led off the second inning with a single against Chiefs starting pitcher Alvaro Seijas. Ben Rortvedt followed with a double to left and Trey Cabbage doubled to right for a 2-0 Kernels lead. Mark Contreras brought Cabbage around with a single to left center making the score 3-0 heading into the bottom of the second.
The Chiefs got on the board in the bottom of the fifth against Kernels starter Tyler Watson. Juan Yepez led off with a triple and scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Kodi Whitley came on in relief in the top of the sixth inning and walked Rortvedt before Cabbage doubled again. David Banuelos walked and Contreras grounded into a double play but it still scored Rortvedt to make it 4-1. Royce Lewis reached on an infield single that drove in Cabbage from third to add another run. Jose Miranda singled and Alex Kiriloff brought two runs home with a double widening the Kernels advantage 7-1.
The Chiefs got one run back in the seventh inning against reliever Moises Gomez. Yepez tied a Chiefs franchise record with his second triple of the game. This time he scored on a double, by Bryce Denton to cut the Kernels lead to 7-2.
Both teams scored in the eighth with the Kernels plating a run against Whitley. The Chiefs put two on with walks against Jovani Moran and with two outs, Denton singled home Yariel Gonzalez to cut the Kernels lead to 8-3. Nick Plummer walked to load the bases but Moran got out of the inning on a foul pop-up.
Down five, the Chiefs rallied against Jose Martinez in the ninth. Jonatan Machado led off with a single to left. Taylor Bryant rocketed a ball off the fence in right field that Kernels outfielder Alex Kirriloff mistakenly thought was ruled a home run. He picked the ball up and tossed it to kids in the first-base berm for a two-base error. That mistake allowed Machado to score and put Bryant at third. A wild pitch from Martinez cut the Kernels lead to 8-5 before Gonzalez walked. With two outs, Yepez doubled to the wall in right for his third extra base hit of the game as Gonzalez scored. Denton represented the tying run at the plate but struck out to end the game.
Seijas (0-1) took the loss pitching five innings, surrendering three runs on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Whitley allowed five runs on seven hits over three innings while walking two and striking out three. Thomas St. Clair threw one shutout inning with a hit allowed, a walk and a strikeout.