CEDAR RAPIDS – Not a good day.
There was very little for the 1,247 fans on hand at Veterans Memorial Stadium to get excited about. The Kernels (1-2) managed eight hits, four in each game.
It was one routine grounder after another, with very few balls driven. Even the Kernels' debut of Cedar Rapids' own Chad Christensen in the nightcap didn't help.
He went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and a double-play grounder.
“We just didn’t do much offensively,” Kernels Manager Jake Mauer said. “A lot of groundball outs. We hit some balls hard, hit some at people. We’re going to have to find ways to scratch runs out. We can’t wait around for a home run. That’s not going to work out too well for us.”
Clinton pitchers Carlos Misell and Emilio Pagan faced only two batters over the minimum in the nightcap, with the final 14 Kernels hitters being retired. Eddie Campbell threw five two-hit shutout innings in the opener for the L-Kings (2-1).
Only a Michael Quesada two-out RBI double the other way into the right-field corner in the sixth inning of that game prevented the day from being a complete washout offensively.
“The lefty in the first game was pretty good, I thought. Campbell was good,” Mauer said. “That guy that threw the second game, I didn’t think was anything special. Ball was pretty straight, it looked like to me. We just couldn’t string anything together, couldn’t get anything to go our way.”
Well-regarded left-handed pitcher Randy Rosario struggled in his first Kernels start, taking the Game 1 loss. Ryan Eades was the starter and loser in Game 2, though his outing was more encouraging.
A second-round draft pick of the parent Minnesota Twins in last year’s draft, the former LSU Tiger had a shutout through four innings. The fifth, however, proved problematic, with Eades knocked out after giving up three hits, a pair of walks and three runs.
“I felt good out there,” said Eades, whose fastball appeared to consistently flash low-90s. “Was just trying to be aggressive, work ahead and let the defense play behind me. A couple of walks there kind of hurt me that last inning. That leadoff walk got me. Left a few balls up, and they found a few holes in the outfield. That was it.”
“He came out and threw the ball good,” Mauer said. “Was aggressive, which was good to see. He got into a little trouble there in that fifth inning. Game was getting a little fast on him there a little bit. But all in all, it was encouraging … He kept us in it.”
Eades generally was pleased with the way he threw the ball, saying it was the best he has felt about an outing since spring training began a month ago. Because of a heavy workload his senior season with the Tigers, the Twins limited him to 10 relief appearances (15.2 innings) at Rookie-level Elizabethton after he signed professionally.
“It was different always being a starter at LSU, then going to E-town and only getting an inning or two,” Eades said. “But it helped me get adjusted to pro ball.”
The teams conclude their four-game season-opening series Sunday afternoon at 2:05. First-round draft pick Kohl Stewart is scheduled to make the start for the Kernels.
Here are the game boxscores: