Despite a one-hour and four-minute delay in the top of the seventh inning, the Quad Cities River Bandits cruised behind 15 hits to an 11-3 win over the South Bend Cubs on Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
The Bandits instantly struck for offense against Cubs’ starter, Blake Whitney who allowed both Maikel Garcia and Eric Cole to reach on singles to start the bottom of the first and paid the price when Seuly Matias mashed a three- run homer to give his team the early 3-0 lead.
In the second, the Bandits chased Whitney with another trio of runs on Nathan Eaton’s fifth double of the year, a bases clearing two-bagger that ballooned his team’s advantage to 6-0.
Charlie Neuweiler delivered three scoreless innings to begin his fourth start of the year and stranded a pair of Cubs’ runners in the top of the third before his lead grew to 8-0 when Matias led off the bottom half with his second homer of the game, a solo shot over the batter’s eye off of newly entered Tyler Sullentrop, and Will Hancock drove in John Rave on a sac-fly.
In the fourth, South Bend finally got to the righty and brought in three on an RBI groundout by Jake Washer, Scott McKeon’s RBI single, his second hit of the night, and Delvin Zinn’s RBI double. However, with two outs in the bottom half, John Rave got one back Quad Cities with his third solo home run in four games and pushed the River Bandits’ lead back to 9-3.
Holden Capps and Sullentrop pitched a pair of zeros in the fifth, but an RBI single by Gavin Stupienski off of Eduarniel Nunez, his fourth hit of the night, gave his team double digit runs and a 10-3 lead.
With Nelson Velazquez having just grounded out to start the seventh, the game came to a screeching halt when fire alarms rang out at Modern Woodmen Park and the confines were evacuated.
After approval from local authorities to reenter the stadium and continue the contest, the inning continued just over one hour later with Will Klein recording the final two outs of top of the seventh.
Just for good measure, an RBI single from Garcia off of Dalton Stambaugh gave the Bandits’ their 11th run of the game before Klein stranded the bases loaded in the ninth to secure the win.
Thanks to five innings of three-run ball, Neuweiler (1-1) earned his first win of the season for the Bandits, while Whitney (0-1) lasted just two innings and allowed six earned on five hits and one walk in his first loss.
Quad Cities will look to secure a split of the series tomorrow in game four behind the arm of Anthony Veneziano (2- 3, 4.66), while South Bend will turn to Joe Nahas (1-1, 4.43). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT.