Despite scoring five runs to tie the game in the top of the ninth, the Quad Cities River Bandits fell in walk-off fashion to the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Thursday by a score of 10-9 at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium. For the fourth time this season, the Bandits logged back-to-back homers with a two-run shot by Michael Massey, his 20th of the year, and a solo shot by John Rave to take an early 3-0 lead against Cody Laweryson in the top of the first.
Dante Biasi gave the Bandits two scoreless frames to begin his night, but after walking Aaron Saboto to load the bases in the bottom of the third, was removed due to injury. Emilio Marquez took over, but on his second pitch out of the bullpen, Yunior Severino cleared the bases with a grand slam and put the Kernels on top 4-3.
After Q.C. went down in order in the top of the fourth, Cedar Rapids rifled off three-straight singles, including an RBI knock by Jeferson Morales. Two batters later, Michael Helman took Marquez deep on an 0-2 pitch and sent a three-run shot to left center field before Wander Javier made it a five-run inning with an RBI double.
Lawyerson again kept the River Bandits off the board in the top of the fifth and maintained his team’s 9-4 lead, but Nathan Webb matched him with a clean bottom half for the visitors.
Quad Cities found the scoreboard again in the sixth, with Lawyerson still on the hill, via Jake Means, who drove in Rave with a double down the left field line to trim his team’s deficit to 9-4. The knock pushed the Kernels’ starter from the game and brought on Zach Featherstone who finished out the frame.
The seventh and eighth innings were without runs as Featherstone and Mitch Ellis dueled zeros, with Ellis facing the minimum.
Trailing by five, the River Bandits came to life in the top of the ninth and worked three-straight walks against Ryan Shreve to load the bases. Nathan Eaton and Massey each swung at the first pitch of their at bats and brought in a run apiece with a fielder’s choice and a sac-fly respectively.
With one away, Melvi Acosta replaced Shreve and struck out Rave for the second out, but after issuing the fourth walk of the inning to Means, Eric Cole made it a one-run game with a two-RBI single up the middle.
As the tying run on second, Means was replaced by a pinch runner in Rubendy Jaquez who would end up coming in to tie the game on Parker Bates’ first River Bandits’ hit, a two-out single up the middle. However, Cole was thrown out attempting to advance to third on the throw home to send the game to the bottom of the ninth with the score 9-9.
Cedar Rapids wasted no time getting the winning run on base against Ellis and on the second pitch of Helman’s at bat, the center fielder doubled to left. Matt Wallner moved the winning run to third on a single and after Sabato was intentionally walked to load the bases, Severino won the game with a fielder’s choice, as Helman beat Massey’s throw to the plate on a ground ball.
After giving up the run in the bottom of the ninth, Ellis (6-2) took the loss for Quad Cities while Acosta (3-1), who blew his fifth save of the year in the process, got the win for Cedar Rapids, pitching just 0.2 innings.
The River Bandits will look to even up the series tomorrow night at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium behind Charlie Neuweiler (2-2, 5.73) who will square off against Sean Mooney (0-0, 0.00) at 6:35 p.m. CDT.