The Quad Cities River Bandits gave up a combined 12 runs in two innings on Tuesday en route to a 12-2 loss at the hands of the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Bandits’ offense was immediately stunned by Kernels’ starter, Louie Varland who struck out seven in his first three scoreless innings. His opposition, A.J. Block was up to the task as well and, like Varland, stranded a third inning walk as his only base runner through the first three frames.
In the top of the fourth, Quad Cities got a leadoff single by Tucker Bradley who, after Nick Loftin’s sacrifice bunt and a Michael Massey flyout, came in on an RBI single by John Rave to give his team a 1-0 lead. Varland issued a walk to Logan Porter, the next man up, but got Parker Bates to flyout to end the threat.
Block also allowed his first run in the fourth, but the Kernels ended up posting a five-spot in the frame and after tying the game on an Aaron Sabato RBI double, scored four more runs off of RBI singles by Michael Helman and Seth Gray, in addition to a Wander Javier fielder’s choice.
Varland kept the Kernel’s 5-1 intact and stranded a Kale Emshoff walk and a Will Hancock infield single in the top of the fifth, but newly entered C.J. Eldred also posted a zero for Q.C. and struck out a pair in his first inning of relief.
In the sixth, it was Andrew Cabezas who took over for Cedar Rapids and, after surrendering a leadoff walk to Massey, the righty retired the next three Bandits’ hitter in order with help from a pair of punch outs.
However, the wheels came off for Quad Cities in the bottom half of the frame where the Kernels strung together six-straight hits including an RBI single by Gray, an RBI double by Javier, and back-to-back homers by Edouard Julien and Alex Isola. Helman’s run-scoring knock against Ruben Ramirez, who allowed the Isola homer and a double to Matt Wallner earlier in the frame, pushed the Kernels’ advantage to 12-1.
Quad Cities got one more tally on Loftin’s RBI single in the seventh, but Tyler Palm pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth for Cedar Rapids to seal the 12-2 Kernels victory.
The win went to Varland (5-1), who struck out eight over five innings and allowed just one run, while Block (3-5) gave up five runs (four earned) over four and took the loss.
Game two of the series is scheduled to feature Christian Cosby (3-3, 5.01) on the hill for the Bandits against Sawyer Gipson-Long (2-1, 2.12) tomorrow at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. CDT.