In their longest game of the year, the Quad Cities River Bandits smacked a season-high 18 hits and scored in all but two innings of Saturday’s 11-frame victory over the Beloit Snappers and secured at least a split of the six-game set with a 14-12 win at Pohlman Field.
For the second time in the series, Quad Cities broke into the run column first with a first-inning solo home run by Vinnie Pasquantino, before Jake Means and Michael Massey also went yard in back-to-back blasts off of Zach King to give the Bandits a 3-0 lead in the second.
Both King and Quad Cities’ starter, A.J. Block stranded a hit in the third, but it was again King who blinked in the fourth and allowed a run on an Eric Cole sac-fly and an RBI triple by Nick Loftin, his second in as many days, that put the Snappers in a 5-0 hole.
Remey Reed took the ball from King for the fifth and held the Bandits to the minimum for the first time on the night. However, Block also faced just three batters in his half and kept Beloit off the board with an Ynmanol Marinez double play to end the frame.
The fifth would be the last frame in which Q.C. would be held off of the board as Cole extended his team’s lead to 6-0 with an RBI double in the top of the sixth.
After five shutout innings from Block, Beloit finally broke through with back-to-back home runs from Ricky Aracena and Kameron Misner and cut the lead to 6-2 at the end of six.
Offense continued to pour on in the seventh as the Bandits used a Tyler Gentry sac-fly to get a run back, but then immediately allowed three more Snappers runs as Aracena’s two-run triple and Misner’s RBI groundout helped chase reliever Christian Cosby. Zack Phillips, who entered next for Chris Widger, loaded the bases with a Connor Scott triple and a pair of walks, but struck out Thomas Jones to end the frame with the score at 7-6 favoring the Bandits.
Two more Quad Cities solo homers, Logan Porter’s first of the year in the eighth and Gentry’s sixth of the year in the ninth, gave the Bandits what looked like a winning 9-6 lead, but Beloit scored three in the bottom of the ninth against Jonah Dipoto as Troy Johnston’s two-run blast and two errors from the right-hander allowed Griffin Conine to score and tie the game at 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth.
Both teams scored two in the tenth. For the River Bandits, it was Jeison Guzman and Pasquantino with a pair of RBI singles off of Andrew Nardi, while Beloit’s pair came against Mitch Ellis, who surrendered an RBI groundout to Will Banfield and a run-scoring single to Johnston to knot it at 11-11.
Despite his struggles, Nardi remained in the game in the top of the eleventh and gave up Michael Massey’s fifth hit of the night, a single that scored Tucker Bradley, and Porter’s second home run that moved the dial to 14-11, Bandits on top.
After a pair of singles, including a run-scoring knock from Marinez that plated the placed runner in the bottom of the 11th, Garrett Davila replaced Ellis with one out and the tying run at the plate, but induced a fly ball from Misner and struck out Banfield to nab his second save of the season and end the four-hour and 16-minute affair with a 14-12 Bandits’ win.
As one of six Q.C. pitchers, Ellis (2-1) earned his second win of the series, while Nardi (1-1) took the loss after allowing five runs, three earned, over two innings of overtime work.
The series will come to a close on Sunday afternoon as a rematch of game one’s starters is scheduled for 2:05pm CDT at Pohlman Field. Asa Lacy (1-4, 5.83), who took the loss in the opener, will toe the rubber for Quad Cities against Antonio Velez (2-0, 3.99) who works off of the win for Beloit.