For the third consecutive game, the Quad Cities River Bandits posted eight runs, as they topped the Cedar Rapids Kernels 8-2 at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium for their seventh-straight victory.
Anthony Veneziano and Ben Gross worked scoreless first and second innings, with the only base runner coming on a Seth Gray triple, which Veneziano stranded in the second.
In the third, Gross surrendered his first base runner with two outs, when Tucker Bradley worked a nine-pitch walk. The next man up, John Rave, opened the scoring with his first of two home runs on the night, a blast to right- center field the put Quad Cities up 2-0.
After Veneziano needed just 13 pitches to work a one-two-three bottom of the third, the Bandits added to their lead in the top of the fourth when Jake Means blooped an RBI single down the first base line to plate Michael Massey and a 3-0 advantage.
Gross remained in the game in fifth for the Kernels, but after striking out Bradley to start the frame, gave up his second homer of the night to Rave, his seventh long-ball in his last ten games. Two batters later, after Nathan Eaton and Massey reached on knocks, Seuly Matias blew the game open with a three-run missile over the left-field fence for his ninth blast of the year and a now 7-0 Quad Cities advantage.
Cedar Rapids finally got to Veneziano in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a leadoff single off the bat of Jair Camargo and then a two-run shot from DaShawn Keirsey that cut the Q.C. lead to 7-2. However, Veneziano would complete the frame with no further damage.
Erik Manoah Jr. set down the River Bandits in order in the of the sixth, but despite allowing a leadoff walk to Alex Isola, Veneziano picked up one final out to conclude his night, before Mitch Ellis took over for Quad Cities and immediately set down the only two men he faced in the frame to strand the runner.
An RBI double from Massey in the top of the seventh gave the visitors their eighth run of the game, but that was more than enough for Ellis who didn’t allow a man to reach and struck out four in 2.2 innings of work through the eighth.
In the ninth, Chris Widger went to Kasey Kalich who, despite allowing a pair of hits, secured the Bandits’ victory by getting Keirsey Jr. to fly out to end the game.
The win went to Veneziano (3-3) for Quad Cities, as the lefty threw 5.1 innings and allowed just two runs while striking out five. Gross (4-1) took his first loss of the year for Cedar Rapids and was on the hook for seven runs over 4.1 frames of work.
The River Bandits will have a chance to grab their 10th series win of the season on Friday, as they’ll work behind A.J. Block (3-1, 4.15), while the Kernels will look for their first win of the set with Louie Varland (1-0, 0.00) getting the start. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT.