In a game that featured 26 runs and 31 hits, it was the final swing of the that earned the Quad Cities River Bandits the win in their series finale with the South Bend Cubs, as Nick Loftin’s walk-off two-run was the difference and notched him his first career cycle and in a 14-12 win on Sunday.
At least one run was scored in each inning of the ballgame and it was the Cubs who jumped on Christian Cosby for three in the first inning on an RBI single by Tyler Durna and a two-run homer for Bryce Ball.
After Loftin’s leadoff single in the bottom of the first, Nathan Eaton cut into the deficit with a an RBI triple before Maikel Garcia tagged Cubs’ starter, Dalton Stambaugh for a second Bandits run with an RBI single.
South Bend took advantage of Ryan Reynolds’ hit-by-pitch in the second and plated their third baseman with Dean Nevarez’s first of two RBI doubles to take a 4-2 lead. However, Quad Cities immediately tied it up with Logan Porters’ leadoff smash, his eighth of the year, and Loftin’s RBI triple.
Working off of Cosby’s scoreless top of the third, the Bandits jumped in front for the first time with three in the bottom of the frame as Bradford Depperman walked both Jake Mean and Porter with two outs and then surrendered a three-run jack to John Rave, his third of the series, that put Q.C. up 7-4.
In the middle innings, it was Eduarniel Nunez who blanked the Bandits for two straight frames and allowed South Bend to score a pair in both the fourth and the fifth on RBI singles from D.J. Artis, Alexander Canario, and Josue Huma, along with Nevarez’s second run-scoring double off of relivers Kasey Kalich and Yohanse Morel.
South Bend again piled on in the top of the sixth thanks to a run on a Holden Capps wild pitch and Jake Slaughter’s RBI double, but River Bandits responded with three of their own in the bottom half via a run on Michael Massey’s groundout and Seuly Matias’s fourth homer of the series that tied the game at 10-10.
After Capps worked a one-two-three top of the seventh, his offense took the lead on Massey’s first hit of the game, a two-strike RBI poke to right to put Quad Cities up by one.
In the top of the eighth however, a one-out walk to Durna turned into a Cubs’ lead when Nelson Velazquez launched a two-run bomb off of Nathan Webb to go up 12-11.
While Burl Carraway pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth to maintain his team’s lead, Webb returned the favor in the top of the top ninth and took the Bandits into the bottom half to face Blake Whitney who looked to close it out.
Logan Porter opened the rally with a shallow flyball into right field that deflected off of a sliding Canario and turned into a leadoff triple. Two pitches later, John Rave collected his fourth hit of the game and tied the contest at 11-11 with a liner to right to put the winning run on for Loftin.
After working his way into a 3-1 count and originally trying to bunt Rave to second, Loftin got the greenlight and whacked a two-run blast onto the left field berm for a walk-off shot that secured his team’s first win in the month of August and his first career cycle.
As one of three Bandits pitchers to throw a one-two-three scoreless frame, Webb (1-1) earned the win for Quad Cities, while Whitney (0-2) took the loss and a blown save after not recording an out in the final frame.
For the first time in two weeks, the River Bandits will hit the road on Tuesday as they will be hosted by the Cedar Rapids Kernels for a six-game set at Veterans Memorial Stadium.