Despite a late-inning battle, including a four-run eighth, the Quad Cities River Bandits fell short in their comeback effort, as they lost to the Beloit Snappers 7-5 on Thursday at Modern Woodmen Park.
Pitching dominated through the first half of the game and saw Quad Cities’ starter, Grant Gambrell strike out five of the first seven batters he faced through two innings. However, in the top of the fifth, Dustin Skelton broke the scoreless tie with a two-run homer that gave the Snappers the 2-0 lead.
While only recording three “Ks” on the night, Zach King scattered four Bandits’ baserunners through a scoreless five-inning start that included avoiding a bases loaded jam with no outs in the bottom of the first.
With Gambrell out of the game after Griffin Conine reached on an error to start the sixth, Beloit’s offense came to life against right-hander, Yohanse Morel who allowed the first four Beloit batters he faced to reach and surrendered a three-run blast to Troy Johnston that extended the Snappers’ lead to 5-0.
The River Bandits sparked a rally in the bottom of the seventh and tagged Josh Simpson for a four-run frame, thanks to his wild pitch, which scored Logan Porter, and then RBI from Eric Cole on a single, Tyler Gentry on a fielder’s choice, and Vinnie Pasquantino on a triple that cut the Q.C. deficit to one.
Unfazed, Beloit immediately responded against left-hander A.J. Block in the top of the eighth and pushed their lead back to 7-4 with a two-run double from Ynmanol Marinez who plated Johnston and Ricky Aracena.
Quad Cities got an RBI triple from Tucker Bradley, his third hit of the game, that scored Porter in the eighth, but Josh Roberson navigated Beloit out of the inning after the one run and handed the ball to Tyler Mitzer who picked up his fifth save of the season after working a scoreless ninth.
Ending a streak of four losses, Zach King (1-4) got the win for the visitors, while Gambrell (2-1) took his first loss of the season despite his quality start.
Game four of the series will feature Quad Cities’ Angel Zerpa (2-0, 1.82), who will start against Beloit’s Alberto Gurrero on Friday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Modern Woodmen Park.