After a 26-run, 11-inning affair yesterday, the Quad Cities completed their largest comeback win of the season on Sunday, as the Beloit Snappers held them without a baserunner until the ninth inning, yet rallied for ten runs within two frames to secure a 10-7 win at Pohlman Field.
The series finale began as a pitcher’s duel featuring a rematch of game-one starters. In his 10th appearance of the season, Asa Lacy faced one over the minimum through his first three innings and struck out seven Snappers while stranding a walk in each inning.
On the other side, Antonio Velez was perfect for Beloit despite not recording his first strikeout until retiring John Rave with one out in the top of the third.
Offense would eventually enter the equation in the bottom of the fourth when Troy Johnston’s one-out double and a wild pitch moved him to third with one out. Two batters later, Griffin Conine stole second and allowed time for Johnston to score from third on Hancock’s throw and gave Beloit a 1-0 lead.
The one run would end up the only blemish on the line for Lacy, who went four innings for the fourth-straight start and tied a season-high with nine strikeouts before giving the ball to Will Klein in for the fifth where the righty would go three-up three-down.
Velez would last one more inning than his opposition and after five perfect frames with a pair of strikeouts, gave way to Evan Brabrand for the sixth.
Despite putting all nine outs in play during Brabrand’s first three innings, Quad Cities’ struggles continued as they failed to reach through eight innings, their longest single-game drought of the season.
After Klein stranded three walks with six strikeouts in three hitless innings of relief, fellow right-hander Yohanse Morel took the mound for Quad Cities in the bottom of the eighth and retired the first two men he faced on just five pitches. However, a walk to Kameron Misner and an intentional walk to Troy Johnston laid the foundation for a five- run inning where RBI knocks from Bubba Hollins and Ynmanol Marinez bookended Griffin Conine’s three-run, two- out blast that ballooned the Snappers’ lead to 6-0.
Now just three outs away from a victory and a combined perfect game, Brabrand opened the ninth by striking out William Hancock, but then surrendered a base hit to John Rave who ended the bid and became the first domino to fall in game-changing inning.
One batter later, after a Tucker Bradley base hit, Jeison Guzman got the Bandits on the board and plated Rave with single to right to make it 6-1.
Needing just two more outs to work a split of the six-game set, Mike Jacobs went to Justin Evans who promptly induced a pop out from Michael Massey, but then gave up an RBI single to Nick Loftin and hit Vinnie Pasquantino to first cut the lead to 6-2 and then load the bases.
With the bags full of Bandits and the second mound visit of the inning completed, Evans turned his attention to Eric Cole, who worked a 2-0 hitter’s count and then blasted the Bandits’ second grand slam of the season and tied the ballgame at 6-6 with two outs.
Evans remained in the game for the Snappers and after allowing the game-tying shot, gave up a single to Jimmy Govern to put the go-ahead run on base. On the very next pitch, William Hancock added insult to injury with an RBI double and plated Govern for a 7-6 Bandits’ advantage before Rave, who appeared at the plate for the second time in the inning, flew out to send it to the bottom half.
Finding himself working the lead, Peyton Gray took over for Q.C. in search of three more outs to complete his team’s comeback win. However, the former Rockies’ farmhand allowed a leadoff walk to Misner who eventually made his way to third after a stolen base and a throwing error on William Hancock.
As the next man up, it was Troy Johnston who came through for the Snappers and retied the game at 7-7 with a sac-fly before Gray stranded the go-ahead run on second to end the inning three batters later and send the game to extra-innings for the third-straight night.
Fresh off of a seven-run ninth, the River Bandits went straight back to work on offense and welcomed Brady Puckett with a man on first and third after Bradley’s would-be sacrifice to move the placed runner, Rave, turned into an infield hit.
Two pitches later, Guzman manufactured his second RBI of the day and plated the center fielder with a sac-fly. Immediately after, Puckett allowed Bradley to score on a single from Nick Loftin, and then saw the Bandits’ advantage move to three when his wild pitch caused Michael Massey to score from third. The righty would put a fourth and fifth run on base with a walk of Cole and a beaning of Jimmy Govern, but Hancock would ground out to keep the score 10-7.
Despite being unable to close the door in the ninth, Gray returned to the hill for Quad Cities in the bottom of the tenth and rewarded his manager with a one-two-three save to nail down the River Bandits’ series-clinching comeback win.
Gray (2-0) got the win for the River Bandits thanks to 2.1 innings of one-run relief, while Puckett (4-1) took his first loss of the season for the Snappers after surrendering Quad Cities’ three-run tenth on three hits, one walk, and no strikeouts.
The River Bandits, who lead the High-A Central West at 31-15 overall, will take Monday off before traveling back to Modern Woodmen Park to host the second place Cedar Rapids Kernels (26-22) for the first of a six-game set on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm CDT.