CEDAR RAPIDS — Not only did rain fall in Cedar Rapids over the weekend between the Clinton LumberKings and Cedar Rapids Kernels. So did the home runs.
Two grand slams confirmed wins for each team this weekend, as the LumberKings scored seven runs in the ninth inning on Sunday to win 7-4, while the Kernels won Saturday night 9-5 in six innings.
On Sunday, the LumberKings trailed 4-0 through nine innings after Bryan Haar hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning off of reliever Emilio Pagan.
Then, in the final inning — five walks, a Justin Seager RBI single, and a passed ball pulled Clinton within one, 4-3, and Christian Carmichael blasted a grand slam — completing another crazy LumberKings comeback.
Nick Burdi made his professional debut for the Kernels out of the bullpen to begin the ninth. Burdi walked all four men he faced and allowed four earned runs without recording an out.
“The one funny thing about baseball is, there’s no time clock,” said Clinton manager Scott Steinmann. “You never know when it’s going to end.”
Although Burdi was making his Midwest League debut, some of the Clinton personnel had a little background knowledge on a pitcher who threw in the high-90s, but threw just four strikes in his four-batter struggle.
“Some of the guys faced him in college,” Steinmann said. “They said he was a good, firm pitcher who had a lot of command.”
Once Burdi was relieved of his duties, Jared Wilson took the mound with no outs in the ninth and took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits, including the grand slam to Carmichael. Entering Sunday’s game, the last time the back-up catcher went deep was on April 5.
“We’ll take that,” Steinmann said. “All of a sudden it was a lot of walks, and the good thing is the guys were patient with that, which doesn’t always happen at this level.