After being held scoreless for seven innings, the Quad Cities River Bandits sent eight men to the plate in a five-run eighth inning to complete a 5-3 comeback victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in game one of the six-game series.
Both starters came out with the strikeout pitch rolling, as A.J. Block and Carlos Luna combined to punchout eight in the first two scoreless innings, with Block stranding a leadoff double in opening frame. However, leadoff base runners would come to haunt Block in the third after the lefty walked the bases loaded before allowing a run on a Gabriel Garcia sac-fly and a bases-clearing two-run double from Thomas Dillard that gave Wisconsin a 3-0 lead.
Quad Cities would also get leadoff men on in the third and in the fourth on William Hancock’s walk and then Vinnie Pasquantino’s double, but neither would score as Luna dueled four scoreless frames in his season’s first start.
With his team trailing, Christian Chamberlain would do more than keep his team in the game. As the first man out of the bullpen for Chris Widger, the righty stuck out six of the first eight men he faced and did not allow a Rattler on until a two out walk to Yeison Coca, who was left stranded.
After failing to solve Freisis Adames in the middle innings, the River Bandits offense broke through in game- changing ways in the eighth against Arman Sabouri.
Jeison Guzman led off the frame with his second double of the game and was brought home as Q.C’s first run of the contest via Nick Loftin’s RBI single to right. Two batters later, a Michael Massey walk turned into a game-tying two-run double by Eric Cole who knotted the score at 3-3 for Jake Means.
With Nash Walters’ now on the hill, Means, who entered the at-bat 0-for-3 in his River Bandits’ debut, launched a 0-1, go-ahead two-run blast to plate Cole and put his new squad up 5-3.
Now with the lead, Quad Cities turned to Mitch Ellis in the ninth and saw the Australia native strand a leadoff single for his second save of the year and his team’s third-straight win.
Cosby (1-0) earned his season’s first “w” in the comeback effort thanks to four shutout innings with eight of the Bandits’ 17 strikeouts. On the other side, it was Walters (3-2) who took the loss for Wisconsin after coughing up the game winning homer in 0.2 innings.
The River Bandits will head back to Modern Woodmen Park for game-two of the series and will back their ace, Angel Zerpa (3-0, 2.27), who matches up with the Timber Rattlers’ Justin Bullock (1-0, 0.00) for a 6:30 p.m. CDT first pitch.