The Quad Cities River Bandits secured a split of their six-game series with Wisconsin on Thursday night, as their 12-run first inning carried the division leaders to a 13-3 victory over the Timber Rattlers at Modern Woodmen Park.
The monster first frame began with a leadoff double by Jeison Guzman, an RBI single from Nick Loftin, and a double from Vinnie Pasquantino. Two batters later, Michael Massey brought in a run with an RBI-scoring knock before Eric Cole smashed a first pitch, three-run homer that gave Quad Cities a 5-0 lead six batters into the game.
After a Jake Means single and a Jimmy Govern walk, Guzman tripled both men home when Je’von Ward misplayed a fly ball in left.
With the lead now 7-0, Matt Erickson yanked starter Justin Jarvis who made it through just 0.2 innings before being replaced by John LaRossa. However, the move did little to stop the Bandits’ offensive barrage as Nick Loftin sent LaRossa’s fifth pitch of night over the left field wall for a two-run blast.
Now on top 9-0, Pasquantino logged his second hit of the frame and made it on base before Tyler Gentry’s double. Then, Massey hit the four-RBI mark on the night and put the final touches on the 12-run frame with the Bandits’ third bomb of the inning; another three-run jack for his fourth of the season.
Asa Lacy, despite sitting in the dugout for 30 minutes in the bottom of the first, picked up right where he left off in the top half and worked four scoreless innings while stranding four walks and striking out seven in his eighth start of the season.
Quad Cities got a scoreless inning from Zack Phillips in the fifth before Noah Murdock made his 2021 debut in the sixth. The former seventh-rounder pitched a scoreless frame before yielding Wisconsin’s first run of the game on a wild pitch that scored Carlos Rodriguez.
Four batters later, the righty worked a ground ball out of Ward, but a throwing error by Jimmy Govern netted two more for the Timber Rattlers and made the game 12-3. But, with the bases loaded and only one out, Petyon Gray slammed the door on a Wisconsin rally and stranded all three runners with strikeouts of Jesus Lujano and Chad McClanahan.
Despite the big lead, the River Bandits still worked to get one back in the eighth and saw Pasquantino pick up his first RBI of the day after scoring Guzman with a ground ball after the center fielder reached on his third extra-base hit of the day one batter earlier.
Gray (1-0) finished out the game on the hill for Q.C. and earned his first win of the season with a dazzling 2.2 innings of perfect relief work including six strikeouts. Evan Reifert and Brady Schanuel both saw action out of the bullpen for the visitors and combined to allow just one run over five innings, but it was too little too late as Jarvis (0-5) got pegged for the loss after sharing responsibility for the first-inning explosion.
The River Bandits will have a chance to win the series tomorrow as Zach Haake (2-1, 5.28) will get the start against Reese Olson (3-3, 4.19) in game four at Modern Woodmen Park. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT.