News Releases - Sports & Recreation
Written by Marco LaNave   
Monday, 06 May 2013 08:11

West Michigan bullpen tosses four scoreless innings to give Quad Cities its third loss in four games

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (MAY 4, 2013) – The Quad Cities River Bandits rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead into the fifth inning Saturday night, but a two-out, bases-loaded single by West Michigan Whitecaps center fielder Jake Stewart and the subsequent throwing error by shortstop Joe Sclafani opened the door for a four-run fifth inning and the Whitecaps’ 7-4 home victory at Fifth Third Ballpark.


The River Bandits (16-11) lost for the first time in seven games when having right-hander Vincent Velasquez and left-hander Joe Bircher as their starting tandem. The pair combined to allow three runs on five hits in seven innings – including three shutout innings by Bircher – but the inning in between was the pivotal one Saturday.


With a 4-3 lead going to the bottom of the fifth inning, right-hander Cameron Lamb entered and allowed a one-out single by left fielder Danry Vasquez, who then stole second base. Lamb hit second baseman Devon Travis before retiring first baseman Jeff Holm on a popout to shortstop. Lamb then walked designated hitter Lance Durham to load the bases. Stewart then grounded a ball deep to the hole at shortstop, and Joe Sclafani one-hopped a throw past second baseman Austin Elkins for a force attempt, and when the ball went into right field, allowing Vasquez and Travis to score the tying and go-ahead runs, respectively. The next batter, Zach Kirksey lined a two-run triple to the right-field wall that extended the lead to 7-4.


Working with the lead, the Whitecaps bullpen held the River Bandits to an infield single and two walks over four scoreless innings. Right-hander Chad Smith allowed a walk and struck out two batters in two hitless innings. Right-hander Angel Nesbitt worked an inning and allowed an infield single by designated hitter Miles Hamblin, who was caught stealing to end the eighth inning. In the ninth, right-hander Jose Valdez issued a one-out walk but shut the door for his fifth save in as many chances. That made a winner of right-hander Yorfrank Lopez (3-1), who allowed all four Quad Cities runs on seven hits and two walks and struck out three batters in five innings.


The Whitecaps (13-14) took their initial lead in the first inning when the first four batters reached base against Velasquez. Shortstop David Gonzalez walked, Vasquez singled, and Travis hit an RBI single to left field. After Holm walked, Durham hit an RBI groundout to first base that made it 2-0.


Quad Cities rallied to take its first lead in the third inning. Left fielder Jordan Scott reached on a bunt single, and center fielder Teoscar Hernandez followed with another single to left field. After Sclafani put down a sacrifice and Elkins was hit by a pitch, first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki hit a sharp two-run double down the third-base line to tie the game. Hamblin’s groundout to second scored Elkins for a 3-2 advantage, but West Michigan tied it in the bottom of the inning when Vasquez scored on a ground ball by Holm. The River Bandits took a 4-3 lead when catcher Jobduan Morales doubled and scored on Sclafani’s two-out RBI double. Sclafani’s two hits led Quad Cities.


The River Bandits play the Whitecaps again at noon Sunday. Quad Cities right-handers Lance McCullers (0-3) and Daniel Minor (2-0) will face right-hander Montreal Robertston (1-3).


UP NEXT: Time is running out to reserve tickets for the Mother’s Day Brunch on the Sky Deck of Modern Woodmen Park. Reservations must be made in advance by Monday, May 6, for the brunch preceding the River Bandits game Sunday, May 12. 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.

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