After falling in extra innings in game two of the series, the Quad Cities River Bandits walked off the South Bends Cubs in ten innings by a final score of 7-6 on Friday night at Modern Woodmen Park.
While the game featured a combined 20 hits, starting pitching dominated the first half of the contest as Anthony Veneziano and Joe Nahas went toe to toe over the first half of a scoreless game with Veneziano setting a new career-high with 10 strikeouts over six shutout frames.
Nahas was the first arm to blink as his streak of 11-straight retried ended with two outs in the fifth when Logan Porter launched an opposite field solo shot into the Mississippi River to give the Bandits the 1-0 lead.
After Veneziano stranded a pair of runners in the sixth, Quad Cities spotted him another run when newly entered Jose Albertos uncorked a wild pitch to John Rave which allowed Nick Loftin to plate a 2-0 Bandits’ advantage despite Nathan Eaton being thrown out at third by Cubs’ catcher, Harrison Wenson to end the inning.
Tad Ratliff made his River Bandits debut in the top of the seventh, as the righthander, on a rehab assignment, struck out Jake Slaughter to begin his outing, but then allowed a triple from D.J. Artis to turn into South Bend’s first run of the game when Wenson bunted him home with an infield single to cut the difference to 2-1.
With Nahas out of the game after 5.2 innings of two-run baseball, Jose Albertos allowed three-straight hits in the bottom of the seventh, including an RBI double by Porter, before issuing bases loaded walks to Maikel Garcia and Nathan Eaton to extend the Bandits lead to four runs before Graham Lawson struck out Seuly Matias with the bases still loaded to end the frame.
Leading 5-1 entering the eighth, Ratliff again took the mound for the Bandits and allowed a leadoff double to Scott McKeon and then a walk to Nelson Velazquez two batters later. Chris Widger then turned to Jonah Dipoto who immediately walked Yonathan Perlaza to load the bases and then saw Jake Slaughter mash a three-run triple to clear the bases and make it a 5-4 game.
Two batters later, Wenson worked a walk of his own and came around with Slaughter on Edmond Americaan’s two- run triple that gave the Cubs their first lead of the night, 6-5 in the eighth.
Having just struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth, Graham Lawson started the ninth for South Bend and struck out Tucker Bradley to start the frame. The next batter, Loftin, got the game-tying run on base with a single, his third hit of the night, before being moved to second on a Garcia walk.
Lawson struck out Eaton for his sixth punch-out of the game and then faced Matias with the tying run in scoring position and two outs.
Down to his final strike, Seuly Matias ended his 0-4 night with a shot up the middle that scored Loftin from second and tied the game at 6-6 before Michael Ryan replaced Lawson with Samuel Reyes who struck out Eaton to send the game to extras.
In the top of the 10th, D.J. Artis attempted to move Slaughter, the placed runner, to third to open the frame against Mitch Ellis, but the Cubs’ left fielder popped up a bunt attempt that allowed Ellis to make the catch and then double-off the man at second for a double play. The righty then struck out Wenson to send it to the bottom half still tied at six.
With John Rave starting at second, it was Jake Means who led off the 10th for the River Bandits and on a 2-1 pitch bounced a ball under Slaughter’s glove at third that allowed Rave to out-run Artis’s throw from left and slide in with the Bandits’ fourth win of the series.
Ellis (5-1) earned the win for Quad Cities after pitching the top of the 10th, while Reyes (3-4), who recorded just one out, took the loss for South Bend.
The River Bandits will look to win the series in game five on Saturday as A.J. Block (3-1, 4.22) is scheduled to make the start against Chris Clarke (0-1, 2.25) who will go for the Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT at Modern Woodmen Park.