Over halfway through in a 5-game series with the Kane County Cougars, the Quad Cities River Bandits find themselves behind 2 games to 1. Dropping the first 2 games, 4-7 and 7-8, the River Bandits came back with a vengeance by shutting out the Cougars 5-0.
After a spectacular performance in shutting out the Clinton LumberKings 5 days earlier, pitcher Juan Minaya (1-2, 4.61 ERA) had trouble finding the strike zone. In 3 innings, he gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, and struck out 2. Relief pitchers Mitchell Lambson and Jamaine Cotton didn’t do much better, as they both gave up two more runs each in the 5 remaining innings.
Teoscar Hernandez (CF), Carlos Correa (SS), and Jesse Wierzbicki (1B) had all 6 of the River Bandits’ hits, with Wierzbicki leading with 3. Hernandez tried to rally the troops with a double in the 9th which scored Jobduan Morales (C) and Austin Elkins (2B), but Jordan Scott (RF) lined out and Correa grounded out to end the game with the final score 4-7.
More hitting production developed for the River Bandits in the 2nd game with 9 hits, but unfortunately, that is how many hits that the Cougars came up with, also. Roberta Pena (C) returned to the lineup with a bang by smashing 4 hits and 3 RBIs. Morales (1B) had two hits including a double in the 8th to score 2 of the 3 runs that inning. The Cougars bounced back at the bottom of the 8th to score 5 and retain the lead that would stand to the end. Starting pitcher Jordan Jankowski finished 7 innings with the game being tied, but Juri Perez and John Neely (2-5, 3.82 ERA) were unable to contain the Cougars for 1 inning, as they combined by giving up 5 runs off 3 hits and walked 3. Neely was credited with the blown save. The River Bandits added 1 more run in the ninth when Pena singled in Wierzbicki (DH), but just like the night before – too little, too late – losing 7-8.
For the 3rd game of this 5-game series, starting pitcher Mike Hauschild (6-1, 2.92 ERA) seemed to realize that getting back to winning needed to fall on his shoulders. He rose to the challenge by holding the Cougars for 7 innings without a run and only 3 hits, while striking out 2. Daniel Minor and Chia-Jen Lo put in an inning each of 0 hits and 0 runs to seal the deal. Hernandez, Morales, and newcomer Dan Bulbransen (LF), all had 2 hits. Bulbransen joined the River Bandits at the beginning of this series on July 4th, but recorded his 1st hit (and 2nd hit) in this 3rd game as a River Bandit. His 2nd hit was a triple to lead off the 5th, so we hope big things from Bulbransen. River Bandits took this one, 5-0.
The River Bandits look to build off the success of the 3rd game and carry it into the 4th and 5th games, as the series continues today @ 1:00pm and tomorrow @ 12:00pm. The River Bandits didn’t lose ground from the leaders, so at 11-5, the River Bandits remain 1 game behind. Colton Cain (3-5, 4.64 ERA) will take the mound today for the River Bandits. Go River Bandits!