Four games and 42 innings later, the Quad Cities River Bandits are 4-0 and on top of the Midwest League Western Division. The River Bandits’ first road trip proved to be fruitful with wins of 7-2, 4-1, 13-10, and 3-1 over the Kane County Cougars. It took extra innings on the last two games, but the results still favored the River Bandits.
In the first game for the River Bandits, Carlos Correa, shortstop, and Roberto Pena, catcher, both got 2 hits in 5 at bats. Correa hit in 3 runs, while Pena hit in another 2. The River Bandits’ pitching duo only gave up 5 hits and 2 runs while striking out 9 and only walking 1. Vincent Velasquez (1-0, 3.60) gave up 3 hits, 2 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 5 Cougar batters. Joe Bircher got the save by giving up only 2 hits, 0 runs, and 0 walks while striking out 4. The River Bandits’ defense fielded 0 errors, too.
In the second game, winning 4-1, Rio Ruiz, 3rd base, Ariel Ovando, right field, and Pena all had 2 hits in 4 at bats. All three also had a double as one of their hits, but it was Ruiz that led the RBIs by hitting 2 runners in. Pitcher Lance McCullers turned in a super performance on the mound by pitching 5 innings without giving up a run, and yielded 4 hits while striking out 5. Daniel Minor (1-0, 3.86) blew the lead by giving up a run on 5 hits, but stayed in long enough for the River Bandits to take the lead again. Kyle Hallock and John Neely finished the final 5 outs – Hallock with 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, and 2 strikeouts and Neely with 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, and 0 strikeouts. The defense, once again, had no fielding errors.
Lots of scoring in the third game, as the Quad Cities River Bandits outlasted the Kane County Cougars 13-10 in 11 innings. Correa had 4 hits and 5 RBIs, as three other River Bandits had 3 hits. The offense produced 17 hits – 2 of them doubles and 2 of them home runs. Pitcher Gera Sanchez (1-0, 13.50) entered in the 9th, only to blow the save by giving up 3 runs to tie the game, but held the Cougars in the 10th to pick up the win. Cameron Lamb came into the bottom of the 11th to seal the deal and pick up his first save of the season by retiring 3 of the 4 batters he faced.
Jobduan Morales, catcher, went 2 for 5 with 1 RBI to lead the River Bandits in the final win of the series, 3-1. The River Bandits could only squeeze out 6 hits, but came out on top in the 13th inning by scoring two runs on a pass ball and a single by Jesse Wierzbicki, 1st base. Pitcher Brian Holmes had success from the mound by only giving up 2 hits and 0 runs in 5 innings of work. Pitcher Jordan Jankowski allowed the tying run during his 3 2/3 innings, but Neely and Lamb (1-0, 0.00) shut down the Cougars in the final 4 1/3 innings.
The Quad Cities River Bandits remain on the road, as they travel to Burlington to take on the Bees for a 3-game series, starting at 6:30pm Monday night. The Bees are 2-2, splitting their last 4-game series with the Clinton LumberKings. The River Bandits will try to extend their hot start with wins over their Iowa neighbors to the south. Go River Bandits!