Despite getting the tying run into scoring position in a four-run ninth inning rally, the Quad Cities River Bandits fell to the Peoria Chiefs by a score of 5-4 on Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park for their first loss in the six-game set.
For the second-straight night, the River Bandits starter was pulled due to injury early in the contest, as right- hander Noah Murdock worked a scoreless first inning, but faced just two batters in the second before exiting the ballgame with a man on and one out in the second.
Yohanse Morel took over for the River Bandits after the injury and used a pair of double plays to match Cheifs’ starter, Nick Trogrlic-Iverson to work a run-less contest through the first three frames.
Peoria eventually got to Morel in the fourth and put up their first tally on Chandler Redmond solo home run, before Francisco Hernandez made it 2-0 Chiefs with an RBI double.
The River Bandits bats proved futile against Trogrlic-Iverson who stranded a Jake Means single in the bottom of the fourth to keep his club’s two-run lead intact and end his 11th start of the year having gone four shutout innings and scattering just three hits.
Holden Capps, in his second appearance of a rehab assignment with Quad Cities, and Emmanuel Solano posted zeros in the fifth before Cristhian Longa drove in another pair of Peoria runs with a two-RBI single in the sixth to extend the Chiefs’ lead to 4-0 and chase Capps from his outing after 1.2 innings.
The River Bandits got their only scoreless relief outing from Jonah Dipoto who faced the minimum in the top of seventh, his lone frame, while Solano worked his final of a scoreless three-inning outing in the bottom half to keep Quad Cities off of the board.
Peoria tagged Peyton Gray for a run in the top of the eighth on Zade Richardson’s RBI double, digging the Bandits deficit to five runs, before Fabian Blanco blanked them in the eighth.
Down to their final three outs, Quad Cities’ bats sprang to life in the bottom of the ninth as Eric Cole’s leadoff single off Freddy Pacheco was followed by consecutive walks to Nathan Eaton and Logan Porter to load the bases. Hancock’s strikeout brought up John Rave with one down and it was his RBI groundout that broke up the shutout.
With men on second and third, Nick Loftin kept the rally going and made it a two-run game by doubling in Eaton and Porter to make it 5-3 and force Chris Swauger to bring in Cory Thompson with two outs.
Down to his final strike against the righty, Tucker Bradley brought the Bandits to within a run on a second-straight double that plated a fourth ninth-inning run.
With Maikel Garcia, the eighth Bandit to hit in the inning, at the plate, Bradley advanced to third on a wild pitch to bring the tying run 90 feet from home, but Thompson would eventually strikeout Garcia on five pitches to nail down a one-out save and the River Bandits’ first loss of the week.
Solano (3-0) got the win for the Chiefs and allowed just two baserunners over his three innings, while Morel (4-2) got pegged with the loss after going 2.2 frames and giving up two runs on three hits and one walk.
Charlie Neuweiler (0-0, 6.75) will get the start for Quad Cities in game four tomorrow at Modern Woodmen Park against Peoria’s Connor Lunn (3-5, 5.04) as the River Bandits will look to claim at least a tie of the six-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT.