In their first time back at Modern Woodmen Park since the second week of May, the Quad Cities River Bandits were shutout by the Beloit Snappers 7-0 on Tuesday in game one of the six-game series.
Down in the count 1-2 with two outs, Griffin Conine got the Snappers on the board first with a solo home run off of River Bandits’ starter Zach Haake to take a 1-0 lead in the opening frame.
Quad Cities got its lone hit of the contest in the bottom of the first when Nick Loftin doubled down the leftfield line, but Bryan Hoeing was able to navigate through the hit and a walk and struck out Tyler Gentry in a nine-pitch at bat to end the threat.
Both starters settled in through the next three innings as Haake and Hoeing worked around a combined five walks including a bases loaded, one out jam in the top of the third, where the Bandits’ starter retired Will Banfield and Troy Johnston with a lineout and a pop out to keep his team’s deficit at one.
The home run ball would strike again for the Beloit in the top of the fifth as David Martinez launched his first dinger of the season to lead off the inning. Haake was then tagged for a third run on a Thomas Jones longball that pushed the score to 3-0 just one batter later.
The River Bandits offense put up little fight in response after Jackon Rose replaced Hoeing with one out in the bottom of the fifth and stranded Tucker Bradley, who stole his way to second, by inducing an Eric Cole pop out and a flyout from Loftin.
Rose and Zack Phillips cruised through their showings as Rose allowed one base runner on a walk through 3.2 scoreless innings while Phillips scattered two hits and two walks through 2.1 scoreless innings in his Modern Woodmen Park debut.
With their opportunities dwindling in the final third of the game, Mitch Ellis kept his team in it after facing the minimum in a scoreless eighth, but after the top of the Bandits’ order went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half, the Snappers locked in the win with a four-run ninth and brought eight men to the plate against Ellis to take the 7-0 lead.
Despite it not being a save situation, Tyler Mitzel closed out the game in sparkling fashion for Beloit by striking out the side on 14 pitches in the bottom of the ninth.
Rose (1-0) earned his first win of the season in relief of Hoeing, who went 4.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts, while Haake (1-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits, all solo homers, in his 4.2 inning start.
The River Bandits will look to even up the series on Wednesday as they’ll send lefty Anthony Veneziano (0-2, 6.35) against Kyle Nicolas (2-0, 2.79) for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch and game two of the set at Modern Woodmen Park.