Quad Cities steals six bases for first time since 2008; bullpen works 5 2/3 shutout innings
DAVENPORT, Iowa (April 6, 2014) – Quad Cities River Bandits second baseman Austin “Catfish” Elkins hit a game-tying double and scored the go-ahead run on center fielder Brett Phillips two-run single in a five-run sixth inning that lifted the home team to a 7-3 victory and opening series split against the Kane County Cougars in front of 1,929 at Modern Woodmen Park Sunday afternoon.
Quad Cities (2-2) beat Kane County (2-2) to the scoreboard for the first time in the series. In the first inning, right fielder James Ramsay drew a leadoff walk and stole second base against right-hander Juan Paniagua. Shortstop Jack Mayfield drew a walk, and a wild pitch moved Ramsay and Mayfield to third and second base, respectively. Catcher Brian Holberton lined a two-out single to left-center field that scored both runners for a 2-0 lead. Paniagua kept Quad Cities off the scoreboard for the rest of his four-inning outing.
River Bandits right-hander Adrian Houser struck out four batters three shutout innings before trouble in the top of the fourth. Right fielder Yasiel Balaguert hit a one-out single, and Houser walked first baseman Jacob Rogers and designated hitter Danny Canela to load the bases. Left fielder Trey Martin plated one run with a bloop single to center field. Houser forced in the tying run with his third walk of the inning to third baseman David Bote. Right-hander Patrick Christensen entered to strike out shortstop Carlos Penalver before walking center fielder Jake Hannemann to force in the go-ahead run.
Christensen recovered for 1 2/3 scoreless innings, and right-hander Gonzalo Sanudo (1-0) started the sixth inning as part of the Quad Cities tandem. Sanudo worked around lone singles in the sixth and seventh to post three scoreless innings and two strikeouts.
The Cougars held the 3-2 lead through right-hander James Pugliese's two shutout innings, but right-hander Scott Frazier (0-1) stumbled in the bottom of the seventh inning. River Bandits left fielder Tanner Mathis drew a one-out walk and stole second base, before Elkins ripped a double to right-center field that scored Mathis for the tying run. Frazier then hit Ramsay with a pitch and threw a wild pitch with Phillips at bat to move Elkins and Ramsay to third and second bases, respectively. Phillips then bounced a grounder past Rogers at first base for a two-run single and 5-3 lead. Mayfield walked to force Frazier from the game, and left-hander Nathan Dorris entered. With runners at first and second, first baseman Conrad Gregor tapped a ground ball toward Bote at third base, and Bote's off-balance throw skipped past Rogers to score Phillips and Mayfield, extending the lead to 7-3. All five runs – three earned – were charged to Frazier over one-third of an inning.
After Sanudo's perfect eighth inning, right-hander Zach Morton worked around a single for a scoreless ninth inning. He completed 5 2/3 innings scoreless innings by the bullpen, which did not allow an earned run in its final 15 2/3 innings of the series.
Ramsay stole three bases, Mathis stole two, and Phillips stole one to give the River Bandits six stolen bases in a game for the first time since the June 26, 2008 – also at home against Kane County. On that date, Charles Kingrey stole three bases, and Domnit Bolivar, Oliver Marmol, and Thomas Pham each stole one in a 6-4 victory. Quad Cities is perfect in 16 steal attempts through four games this season.
After taking Monday off, the River Bandits will play their first inter-divisional and road game at 6:05 p.m. Central on Tuesday in Lansing, Mich. River Bandits left-hander Chris Lee is scheduled to face Lugnuts right-hander Tom Robson at Cooley Law School Stadium.
UP NEXT: The second annual River Bandits Race to Home 5K and Kids Fun Run presented by Palmer Chiropractic Clinics is Saturday at 8 a.m. Thursday is the last day to register using the link at www.riverbandits.com. All proceeds benefit the Bandit Scholars Program. To order any of the 2014 ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership is making one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 110 feet over the playing field, is opening this spring, along with a carousel, a new ride called a "Drop and Twist," an expanded 300-foot long zip line, and many other new games and attractions. In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. The team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, just saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.