With their backs against a potential second series loss of the season, the Quad Cities River Bandits topped the Peoria Chiefs 8-4 on Sunday afternoon to take half of the six-game set and depart Dozer Park winners of back-to-back ballgames.
In a rematch of game one’s starters, Michal Yasenka had his way with the Bandits in the opening frame and stuck out the side on 11 pitches. But in the second, the righty issued consecutive walks to Tyler Gentry and Michael Massey to start the inning before Eric Cole launched a three-run homer to right to give Quad Cities an early 3-0 lead.
With Anthony Veneziano holding down the fort on the pitching end and Yasenka already out of the game due to high pitch count, the Bandits added to their lead in the third thanks to an error on Moises Castillo that allowed Nick Loftin to score and the fourth RBI of the game from Cole who plated Gentry again, this time with a sacrifice fly.
Now on top 5-0, Quad Cities jumped on Chiefs’ reliever Cory Thompson, who replaced Wilfredo Pereira with one out in the fourth, with a pair of RBI doubles from Loftin and Vinnie Pasquantino who extended Veneziano’s cushion to 7-0.
The Q.C. starter turned the momentum in his favor in the bottom of the fourth and struck out the side one-two- three before facing one over the minimum due to an error in the fifth to align himself for his first win of the season after a scoreless outing.
Now facing Will Klein, the Chiefs scratched across their first tallies in the bottom of the sixth and touched up the reliever for three on Leandro Cedeno’s three-run shot that cut the River Bandits’ lead to 7-3.
Klein would again run into trouble in the seventh and load the bases before Yohanse Morel entered with two outs. The right-hander walked in Cristhian Longa on four straight balls to Brady Whalen, but then ended the threat by striking out Cedeno to leave them loaded.
After a scoreless eighth, Quad Cities got a run when Gentry touched home on a wild pitch and then turned the game over to Jonah Dipoto, who set down the Chiefs in order in the bottom of the ninth for the 8-4 victory.
Veneziano (1-2) earned his illusive first win with a no-run, one hit, six-strikeout performance, while YaSenka (0-3) surrendered three on the Cole homer and went just 1.1 innings to take the loss.
Quad Cities will enjoy a league-wide off day on Monday before returning home to Modern Woodmen Park to host the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers who come to town on Tuesday for the first time in 2021.