Lifted by a five-spot in opening frame, the Quad Cities River Bandits shutout the Peoria Chiefs 8- 0 on Saturday at Dozer Park to secure a win of the six-game set and their third consecutive series win of the season.
Assisted by two Nathanael Heredia walks to open the game, the Quad Cities offense immediately took the lead when Vinnie Pasquantino brought in the opening tally on an RBI groundout with the bases loaded. And after just 35 pitches, Heredia was pulled from the game after allowing a two-run single by Logan Porter to put the Bandits up 2- 0.
Quad Cities didn’t take its foot off the gas after the pitching change, as Michael Brettell was welcomed to the game with three River Bandits hits, including a two-RBI double from Tucker Bradley who scored Porter and Jimmy Govern to balloon the early lead to 5-0 in the first.
In the bottom half, southpaw Angel Zerpa took his team’s momentum onto the mound and struck out the side in order to send the Bandits quickly back to the dugout.
With the lumber still warm in the second, Nick Loftin and Nathan Eaton kicked off the inning with back-to-back singles, before Pasquantino walked to load the bases yet again, but Brettell was able to limit the damage to a Tyler Gentry sac-fly that pushed the Chiefs’ deficit to 6-0.
However, that was more than enough offense for Zerpa who, for the second time in as many innings, struck out the side in order and allowed just two hits while striking out a season-high ten over his second five-inning start of the season.
Pasquantino added some extra cushion prior to reliever Garrett Davila’s entrance in the bottom of the sixth, as the Q.C. first baseman deposited his team-leading sixth homer of the year over the right field fence in the top half, before Davila worked around a hit-batsman in the bottom half prior to navigating a scoreless seventh.
The River Bandits got one more in the top of the eighth on Jimmy Govern’s fifth double of the year that brought in Gentry and the 8-0 lead.
Davila faced the minimum in the bottom of the eighth to conclude his scoreless three-inning day that included five punchouts. Mitch Ellis secured one “K” and the final three outs of his team’s win in the bottom of the ninth.
Zerpa (1-0) earned his first win of the season for Quad Cities as he and the River Bandits bullpen held Peoria to just four hits of total offense on the game, while Heredia (0-2) took his second loss of the year after coughing up four earned over less than an inning.
The six-game series will conclude on Sunday afternoon with a 1:35 p.m. CDT matinee featuring Drew Parrish (1-0, 0.00) in his first start of the year for the Bandits and Jack Ralston (0-1, 2.61) in his fourth start of the season for the Chiefs.