Six outs away from their second series loss of the season, the Quad Cities River Bandits scored seven runs over the last two innings to complete their 12th come-from-behind win of the season, as they topped the Peoria Chiefs 9-5 on Saturday night at Dozer Park.
On the second pitch of the game, Jeison Guzman smacked the first leadoff homer of the Bandits’ season on a bullet to right field off of Peoria starter Logan Gragg. Tucker Bradley also got in on the early offensive action and plated Jimmy Govern on an RBI single in the second to push Quad Cities’ lead to 2-0.
Despite stranding a pair of base runners in the first and working a one-two-three second, Zach Haake was ambushed by the longball in the third and gave up a pair of home runs to Brady Whalen, a two-run shot, and Chandler Redmond. After Gragg set down Q.C. in order in the top of the fourth, Haake again had one sent over the wall in the bottom half, this time by Leandro Cedeno whose solo homer gave Peoria a 4-2 lead entering the fifth.
Both starters finished their evenings with scoreless frames, before handing the ball to the bullpen for the sixth, where Peoria’s Enmanuel Solano stranded Michael Massey’s double and Govern’s single to keep his team’s lead intact.
In the bottom of the frame, the Chiefs struck for their fourth homer run of the game, this time off of Peyton Gray who gave up the solo blast to Tyler Reichenborn to make it 5-2 Chiefs, before stranding a pair of baserunners to end the first full inning of his River Bandits’ debut.
The seventh inning marked the game’s second and final scoreless inning and saw Gray leave the game after taking John Torres’s comebacker off of his foot. Gray was replaced by Garrett Davila who got the final two outs of the inning on just seven pitches.
Having not scored since the second inning Quad Cities found life in the top of the eighth against Cole Aker who started off the inning by hitting Tyler Gentry and walking Massey, which set up for Govern’s rally starting RBI ground rule double. One batter later, Logan Porter kept the wheels turning with a run-scoring single to score Govern, before the top of the order in Guzman tied the game at 5-5 with a base hit up the middle that brought in Michael Hancock.
After Davila crafted a clean eighth, the River Bandits’ offense picked up right where it had left off and loaded the bases in the top of the ninth. Then, with Leonardo Taveras on the bump, the visitors retook the lead for the first time since the third inning on Bradley’s two-out, bases loaded single that scored Massey and Hancock, making the game 7-5 River Bandits.
Quad Cities had just as much success against Jacob Schlesener—who entered after Bradley’s knock—and added a pair of insurance runs on Guzman’s third hit of the day, an RBI double, and a run-scoring infield hit from Eric Cole that sent Peoria to the plate in the bottom of the ninth trailing 9-5.
With Davila still in the game for the Bandits, the Chiefs got two men on with a leadoff walk and a one-out hit-by- pitch, but the right-hander picked up the dagger with a 6-4-3 double play that secured Quad Cities’ comeback win.
Earned via 2.2 innings of scoreless relief work, Davila (2-0) notched his second win of the season out of the bullpen, while Taveras (1-2) was charged with a blown save and loss after allowing four runs in 1.1 innings.
The series finale on Sunday gives the River Bandits a chance to split the six-game series in a rematch of game- one’s starters, as Anthony Veneziano (0-2, 4.91) will oppose Michael YaSenka (0-2, 6.49) in the 1:35 p.m. CDT matinee at Dozer Park.