VELASQUEZ & BIRCHER ARE THE RIGHT RECIPE FOR BANDITS Print
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Written by Matt Bierl   
Monday, 15 April 2013 08:12

Tandem pair allowed two runs in eight innings to tally third win

DAVENPORT, Iowa (APRIL 14, 2013) – Right-hander Vincent Velasquez and left-hander Joe Bircher stayed perfect in the starting tandem set for the Quad Cities River Bandits, while third baseman Rio Ruiz blasted his first home run of the season to lead Quad Cities to a 3-2 victory over Peoria on Sunday afternoon in front of 1,402 at Modern Woodmen Park.

For the second time this season and second consecutive game, an opponent put a run on the board before the River Bandits.  Peoria’s Michael Swinson led off the game with a stand-up triple down the line in right and came around to score on the next at bat on a single off the bat of Alex Mejia to plate the Chiefs with an early 1-0 lead.

Ruiz belted a solo shot over the wall and onto the left field berm for the first home run of the 2013 season at Modern Woodmen Park to even up the score in the second.  With two outs, designated hitter Ryan Dineen walked and advanced to third on a single off the bat of shortstop Carlos Perdomo.  Perdomo stole second and second baseman Joe Sclafani walked to load the bases for center fielder Jordan Scott. Scott worked Peoria starter and former River Bandit Tyrell Jenkins (0-1) to a full count but struck out looking to end the inning.

Quad Cities (7-2) broke the tie with two runs on three hits in the fifth. Perdomo lined a single up the middle to start the frame. With Perdomo running on a pitch, Sclafani connected on a line-drive single to left, allowing Perdomo to take third ahead of Swinson’s throw, which allowed Sclafani to reach second. With Scott at the plate, skipper Omar Lopez called for a squeeze for the fourth time this season. Scott laid down a sacrifice bunt along first-base line, scoring Perdomo and sending Sclafani to third.  First baseman Jesse Wierzbicki laced an RBI single to score Sclafani and extend his own hit streak to six games. Perdomo was the only River Bandit with two hits. Jenkins allowed all three Bandits runs off six hits, walked three and struck out one.

Peoria (4-5) drew within one run in the eighth against Bircher. Mejia reached on an error by Sclafani, and back-to-back singles by second baseman Breyvic Valera and first baseman Jordan Walton loaded the bases for designated hitter Patrick Wisdom. Bircher got Wisdom to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, allowing Mejia to score. The Bandits’ southpaw got Ildemaro Vargas to ground out to escape the jam.

As the starter in the tandem for a second time, Velasquez (2-0) allowed one run on three hits, struck out one and did not issue a walk in five innings.  His partner in the tandem rotation, Bircher, allowed one unearned run on three hits and struck out two in three innings.  John Neely followed in the ninth inning, allowing a one-out single by center fielder Charlie Tilson before inducing a ground-ball double play by pinch hitter Casey Rasmus to give Neely his first save.

The victory also means The Captain's Table at 4801 River Drive in Moline will offer The Captain's Table Victory Discount on Tuesday, April 16. Anyone who mentions the River Bandits victory can receive a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two lunches or dinners with beverages on Tuesday, April 16.

Winners of their first home series, the River Bandits (7-2) will host the Clinton LumberKings for three games, beginning Monday at 7 p.m. Right-handers Lance McCullers (0-1) and Daniel Minor (1-0) are scheduled to pitch in tandem for Quad Cities.

UP NEXT: Munchie Monday presented by 97X will debut tomorrow night.  Fans can enjoy all-you-can-eat hot dogs, nachos, peanuts and popcorn all game long for a single-price wristband.  Single-game tickets are on sale at the River Bandits box office at Modern Woodmen Park, by phone at 563-324-3000 and online at www.riverbandits.com. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $50. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.

ABOUT THE BANDITS: The River Bandits will make one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 112 feet over the playing field, is scheduled to open in early June, along with two new zip lines, a carousel, a Frog Hopper, new bounce houses and many other fun attractions. The team also boasts a new major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, and fans will see last year’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Carlos Correa. The Astros will also make the very first selection in the major league draft this June and could have another top pick end up in the Quad Cities. With new rides, new attractions, new improvements, a new affiliate and future major league stars, this season will be one every fan will not want to miss!


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