Despite entering the night as one of the top defenses in the High-A Central, the Quad Cities River Bandits fell to the Dayton Dragons on Thursday and committed a season-high five errors in the 7-6 loss at Day Air Ballpark.
The sloppy play began as soon as the bottom of the first for the Bandits, as the game’s first run came by way of an Anthony Veneziano wild pitch and a throwing error by William Hancock that allowed Jacob Hurtubise to score from second and spot Dayton a 1-0 lead.
Making his season debut, Dragon’s starter, Miguel Medrano struck out the side in the top of the second, while Veneziano rebounded and worked around a one-out base hit to complete a scoreless frame.
In the third, it was the Dragons with a defensive miscue that turned a sacrifice bunt from Tucker Bradley into a run scored when Logan Porter touched home on a throwing error by Medrano. One batter later, Nathan Eaton cleared the bases with a two-RBI single and gave Quad Cities a 3-1 lead.
Both teams scored twice in the fourth as the Bandits got their tallies on a two-run blast from Jimmy Govern, his first of the year, while Quin Cotton stole third and then took home on another Veneziano throwing error before Miguel Hernandez singled in Eric Yang to keep the Dragon’s deficit at two.
Nathan Eaton struck again for River Bandits in the top of the fifth by welcoming reliever Jacques Pucheu to the game with a solo big-fly and now a 6-3 score favoring Q.C.
After allowing three runs, just one earned, through 3.2 innings of work, Veneziano was replaced by Christian Chamberlain who struck out the top of the Dragon’s order one-two-three to end the fifth and keep his team up by three.
However, things weren’t so easy for the left-hander in sixth as Hernandez and Francisco Urbaez both made Chamberlain pay for a wild pitch and cut Dayton’s deficit to one with a pair of RBI—the second coming off of Zack Phillips who made his River Bandits debut on the hill and allowed the inherited run.
Dayton kept the rally going in the seventh when Juan Martinez doubled in Hurtubise to tie the game at six and then, later on, plated himself from third after Quin Cotton reached on Jeison Guzman’s fielding error to give the Dragons the 7-6 advantage.
In the eighth, Quad Cities got two men on with one out, but saw Logan Porter and Govern set down on eight pitches from Dragon’s reliever, Braxton Roby.
Jonah Dipoto was able to work around a Porter error to post a scoreless frame in the bottom of the eighth to give the Bandits a chance, but, despite Braxton hitting Guzman and Massey to put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth, Sam Hellinger used just one pitch to get the game-ending groundout from Vinnie Pasquantino and a one-out save.
After Medrano’s four innings of five-run ball, it was Pucheu (2-0) who got the win for Dayton thanks to a 3.1 inning, one-run performance. Zack Phillips (0-1) took the loss for Quad Cities and allowed two runs, one earned, through a 1.2 innings debut.
The fourth game of the six-game set will kick off at 6:05 p.m. CDT tomorrow when the River Bandits’ Grant Gambrell (2-0, 3.29) will toe the rubber against a fellow righty Eduardo Salazer (1-1, 3.00), who will start for the Dragons at Day Air Ballpark.