The Quad Cities River Bandits extended their winning streak to four games on Friday night, as they defeated the Beloit Snappers 6-4 at Pohlman Field for their league-leading eighth series win of the season.
The Bandits got the first runs on the board against Antonio Velez in the top of the third inning thanks to a pair of errors by Ricky Aracena, who first allowed Logan Porter on to leadoff the inning via an inaccurate throw and then three batters later, again missed his target which allowed Porter to score after Maikel Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice.
Vinnie Pasquantino, the next batter, plated Nick Loftin with an RBI single to make it a 2-0 Q.C. advantage.
In the top of the fourth, reigning the High-A Central Player of the Week, Michael Massey, continued his red-hot series and mashed a two-strike solo home run for his fifth dinger in his last four games and pushed the Bandits ahead 3-0.
After Velez worked a scoreless fifth, Seuly Matias came to the plate after a leadoff single by Massey and crushed a ball to right center field his first home run of the season and a now five-run lead for the visitors.
Coming off of a two-run, five-inning start his last time out, Quad Cities’ starter, Noah Murdock gave the River Bandits another lengthy outing on Friday, and kept the Snappers off the scoreboard for 5.2 innings and struck out three before giving way to Will Klein in the sixth.
The righthander struggled off the bat and allowed Kameron Misner on with walk. After stealing second with two- away, Will Banfield got Beloit on the board with an RBI single and made it 5-1 game headed into the seventh.
However, Quad Cities would quickly get the run back in its next at-bats and recorded its sixth run of the contest against newly entered reliever, Jackson Rose, who gave up an RBI single to Massey for the second baseman’s third knock of the night.
Again working with a five-run lead, Klein retired the side in order after the seventh-inning stretch, but allowed three hits to start off the bottom of the eighth and surrendered a run on a throwing error that saw Victor Victor Mesa steal third and then advance home on the miscue to make it 6-2.
After a one-out mound visit, Peyton Gray came on and allowed two inherited runners to score on a single by Troy Johnston and a Marcos Rivera sacrifice-fly that made it a two-run game going into the ninth.
Erik Cha, in his Snappers’ debut, coughed-up a pair of walks in the top of the final inning, but stranded both to give Beloit a chance in the bottom half.
Gray struck out Connor Scott and Mesa for a quick two outs, before a double by Griffin Conine and a Misner walk put the tying run on base. However, the righty would come out of a mound visit and strikeout Banfield to seal his third save of the year.
Thanks to his clean start, Murdock (2-1) earned the win for the River Bandits, his second in his last two starts, while Velez (3-1) took his first loss of the season despite going six innings and allowing three on seven hits and no walks.
Quad Cities will look to extend its string of victories to five on Saturday as they’ll start Charlie Neuweiler (0-0, 8.31) against Beloit’s Bryan Hoeing (3-5, 7.24). First pitch at Pohlman Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT.