For the first time in 2021, the Quad Cities River Bandits needed extra innings, but fell in the 10th as the Beloit Snappers handed them a 6-5 walk-off loss on Friday night at Pohlman Field.
Quad Cities looked well on their way to taking an early lead against Kyle Nicolas in the top of the first, but after Nick Loftin’s leadoff triple, the right-hander retired the next three men he faced to end the threat before striking out the side in the top of the second. Anthony Veneziano matched the Snappers with two scoreless innings of his own to start the contest, but was tagged for a three-spot in the third thanks to a sacrifice fly from Will Banfield that scored Marcos Rivera and then Ricky Aracena when Michael Massey made his first error of the season.
The Snappers made it 3-0 two batters later after Troy Johnston doubled in Connor Scott as one of seven men to hit in the bottom of the third. After Nicolas stranded a Tyler Gentry walk in the top of the fourth, Veneziano settled down in his final inning of the game and struck out two while facing the minimum in the bottom half. In the top of the fifth, Jake Means gave Quad Cities a man on second with nobody out, but Nicolas again danced out of danger and retired the bottom third of Chris Widger’s order on his next nine pitches.
Dante Biasi, who made his first appearance since being part of the River Bandits’ combined no-hitter of June 18th, worked a three-up three-down frame before the River Bandits finally broke through in the sixth as Josh Simpson allowed his inherited runner to score when Tyler Gentry singled in Eric Cole to cut his team’s deficit to 3-1. With Nicolas’s day done after 5.2 innings of one run ball, Q.C. attacked the Beloit bullpen for four in the top of the seventh as RBI doubles from Nick Loftin and Vinnie Pasquantino sandwiched an Eric Cole sacrifice-fly and put the visitors on top 5-3 with two outs, before Justin Sterner retired Gentry to end the rally. After not allowing a hit in his first three innings of relief, Beloit cracked back into the run column against Biasi and tied the game back up at 5-5 with a run-scoring single from Kameron Misner and then an RBI groundout against newly entered Peyton Gray as Johnston brought in Banfield.
Both teams stranded a base runner in a scoreless ninth inning before the top of the tenth saw Quad Cities load the bases with Pasquantino as the placed runner, a Gentry walk, and then Justin Evan’s error that allowed Michael Massey to reach. With no one out, Evans got Means to ground out softly, William Hancock on strikes, and then Govern to dribble the third out to third and stranded what would be Quad Cities final three baserunners in a night where they would bat 3-for-18 with men in scoring position. Garrett Davila struck out Ricky Aracena to give the Bandits a glimmer of hope in the bottom of the tenth, but then surrendered an RBI single to Scott who scored Rivera, the placed runner, to seal the walk-off win with a 6-5 score. Veneziano gave up three runs in four innings for Quad Cities, but it was Davila (2-1) who took the loss while Evans (1-1) went two scoreless for Beloit en route to the win. With the series now tied, the River Bandits will start A.J. Block (0-1, 6.75) against the Snappers’ Zach King (1-6, 6.34) on Saturday at Pohlman Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm CT.