After evening the series with a win and an 11-hit performance last night, the Quad Cities River Bandits took a one game lead in the six-game set and continued the offensive barrage as they topped the Cedar Rapids Kernels 12-3 on Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
Anthony Veneziano and Cody Laweryson combined to work a clean first, but the River Bandits started a two-out rally in the second with singles from Jake Means and Logan Porter, which lead to Jimmy Govern’s first swing of the series—a three-run shot that put Q.C. in the lead, 3-0.
Now working with the lead, Veneziano cruised through a one-two-three frame in the top of the third and saw his cushion grow even softer when Michael Massey’s sacrifice fly and Means’ RBI triple extended the Bandits’ advantage to 5-0 in the bottom half.
Despite striking out Wander Javier and Jair Camargo after a leadoff walk to Seth Gray, Michael Helman came through with two outs and made the lefty pay by doubling in his third baseman for the Kernels’ first and only run of the game off of Veneziano, who worked four innings and tied his career-high with eight punchouts.
With his team up 5-1, Yohanse Morel gave Quad Cities two scoreless frames in the fifth and the sixth, but was responsible for Gabriel Maciel who scored in the top of the seventh on Max Smith’s double play. However, the River Bandits would get the run back in the and one more in the bottom half on Logan Porter’s two-run, bases loaded single to make it 7-2 Quad Cities.
Helman tagged Klein for a run with his second run-scoring two-bagger of the night in the top of the eighth, but the game got out of hand in the bottom of the inning when RBI knocks from Eric Cole, Means, and Govern blew the doors open with a five-run eighth against Daniel Ozoria and Yeltsin Encarnacion, a pair of position players, who saw the Q.C. lead balloon to 12-3.
Despite loading the bases in the top of the ninth, Klein got Gray to line into a double play at second base to secure the win and his first save of the year after going three innings and striking out four out of the bullpen.
The win, his third of the year, went to Morel (3-1) who gave Chris Widger two innings of one-run ball, while the loss went to the Kernels starter, Laweryson (0-1), who lasted three frames and surrendered five runs on six hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.
In game four tomorrow, Quad Cities will roll behind A.J. Block (0-1, 5.71), who will match up against Cedar Rapids’ Tyler Beck (1-0, 2.25) for the 6:30 p.m. CDT first pitch at Modern Woodmen Park.