DAYTON, Ohio – Cedar Rapids starting pitcher Chih-Wei Hu and two relievers combined on a two-hit shutout as the Kernels defeated the Dayton Dragons 4-0 on Saturday night.
Hu, a native of Taiwan who signed with the Minnesota Twins as an international free agent in 2012, struck out 10 and walked only one over six scoreless innings. He allowed the only two hits of the game as he improved his record to 3-0. Kernels relievers Jake Reed and Nick Burdi combined to retire the final nine batters of the game in order. Kernels pitchers combined to strike out 14.
Cedar Rapids scored three runs in the first inning, starting the game with three consecutive singles against Dragons starter Jackson Stephens (2-3). The Kernels added one more run in the fifth to close out the scoring. Cedar Rapids had only three hits after the first inning. Dragons pitchers did not issue a walk in the game.
The Dragons only hits were a fifth inning one-out double high off the left field fence by Joe Hudson, and a sixth inning lead-off single to left by Nick Benedetto, but the Dragons could never advance a runner past second base in the game. The Dragons collected only one walk, a fourth inning free pass by Tanner Rahier.
Stephens suffered the loss, working five innings and allowing five hits and four runs with four strikeouts. Tony Amezcua had an excellent outing in relief of Stephens, working three scoreless innings and allowing just one hit with three strikeouts.
The Dragons (15-19) host the Kernels (19-15) in the second game of the series on Sunday at Fifth Third Field at 2:00 p.m. Amir Garrett (4-5, 3.80) will start the game for the Dragons against Cedar Rapids’ Stephen Gonsalves (first appearance). The series will conclude on Monday at 7:00 p.m. when Dayton’s Sal Romano (6-9, 3.79) battles Cedar Rapids’ Aaron Slegers (7-6, 4.49).