SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (August 23, 2021) — The Quad Cities River Bandits picked up a pair of victories over the South Bend Cubs on Friday night, as they concluded Thursday’s suspended game with a 12-8 win and then defeated the Cubs 6-5 in a seven-inning game to cap-off the night at Four Winds Field.
After weather forced Game Three of the series to be suspended in the top of the third inning on Thursday, the Bandits started the action on Friday resuming the contest with the bases loaded, two outs, and a 0-0 score.
Facing Matteo Bocchi, who began the day on the hill for the Cubs in relief of starter Alexander Vizcaino and Jose Albertos, Michael Massey was the first man to come to the plate and fired up the re-start by sending a two-strike pitch over the wall in right for the Bandits’ fifth grand slam of the year and a 4-0 lead.
Dante Biasi was asked to take over for Quad Cities’ starter Christian Cosby, who didn’t allow a base-runner and struck out four South Bend hitters in two scoreless innings of work on Thursday. The lefty picked up where Cosby left off and set down the Cubs in order in the bottom of the third.
After Eric Cole struck out to begin the fourth, Gavin Stupienski stepped to the dish and smacked a solo homer to push the Bandits ahead 5-0 on his second of the season and Quad Cities’ second of the game.
However, South Bend hopped into the dinger circle as well in the fourth and got a two-run shot from Yonathan Perlaza to make it 5-2.
Bocchi settled down in the top of the fifth and retired the side one-two-three, while Biasi stranded Edmond Americaan’s triple and Luis Vazquez, who was hit by a pitch, in the bottom-half.
Quad Cities got a lead-off double from Logan Porter to lead off the sixth, but only South Bend would score in the frame thanks to an RBI triple by Bryce Ball off of Patrick Smith, who entered for Biasi to start the inning.
With their lead shrunk to two, the River Bandits’ offense kicked into action once again in the top of the seventh and yielded five runs. First, a pair of RBI singles from Maikel Garcia and Tucker Bradley to put the Quad Cities’ lead back to four. Then, after Bryan King entered for Bocchi, Massey and John Rave also singled in runs, with Rave’s plating both Nick Loftin and Massey to push the advantage to 10-3.
Smith remained on the rubber for Quad Cities in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a two-out homer to Luis Vazquez.
Both teams left men in scoring position in the scoreless eighth, but then struck in the ninth. For the Bandits, it was Stupienski who recorded his first-career multi-homer game with a two-run shot off of King. The Cubs, despite entering the frame down 12-4, rallied to double their run total against Nathan Webb.
All with two away, Perlaza scored a pair with a two-run double and both Tyler Durna and Alexander Canario registered RBI singles, but after Kasey Kalich replaced Webb and issued consecutive two-out walks, the righty got Bryce Windham to fly out to end the game.
Biasi (5-2), who went three innings and gave up a pair, got the win and notched five of Quad Cities’ thirteen strike-outs, while, despite not pitching during the evening, Vizcaino (0-1) got the loss for South Bend after allowing two runs thanks to runners he put aboard during 2.1 innings of work on Thursday.
The originally-scheduled game, which was condensed to seven innings, began at 7:15PM and featured C J Eldred getting his first start of the season for Quad Cities and Chris Clarke making his fifth for South Bend. Both men gave up runs in the first inning, with the Bandits receiving an RBI double from Massey and the Cubs evening the score at 1-1 on Durna’s RBI groundout.
In the second, QC again took the lead, this time on a Will Hancock single that brought in Nathan Eaton, while Eldred stranded a Bryce Ball walk.
Nick Loftin reached on his seventeenth double of the season with one out in the third, but was left on by Clarke, but Eldred returned the favor by inducing a double-play to complete another scoreless frame.
The fourth inning saw the River Bandits plate Cole, who got aboard with a one-out double, on Garcia’s run-scoring single, while Eldred again kept the Cubs off the board and held tight to a 3-1 lead.
With no runs coming across in the fifth, South Bend’s hole got deeper in the top of the sixth as Hancock took Clarke deep for a solo shot, his fourth homer of the season, to make it 4-1.
However, Eldred, after not allowing an earned run over five innings, gave way to Mitch Ellis for the bottom of the sixth and saw Quad Cities’ lead crumble on Bradlee Beesley’s two-run homer and then a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that scored Canario and knotted the contest at 4-4.
Will Klein was called upon to record the final out of the frame and stranded the bases-loaded by striking out Liam Spence on three pitches.
In the top of the seventh, Quad Cities was shut down by Burl Carraway who cruised through the middle of the order, but Klein sent the game to extra innings by stranding a walk and striking out the side in the bottom-half.
Still facing Carraway in the top of the eighth, Rave worked a five-pitch walk to put two men on for Eaton, who bunted him and the placed runner, Massey, into scoring position. The Bandits officially manufactured a run when Cole’s sac-fly brought in Massey, but then Rave plated an insurance run when a fly-ball off the bat of Jake Means dropped in between Spence and Canario in right-field to put the Bandits ahead 6-4.
A wild pitch allowed South Bend to plate a run against Yohanse Morel in the bottom of the ninth, but despite the tying-run reaching second, the righty struck out Jake Washer to put the bow on a 6-5 Bandits’ win and his second save of the season.
Thanks to 1.1 innings scoreless relief and four strike-outs, Klein (5-1) earned the win for Quad Cities. For South Bend, it was Carraway (3-2) who departed with loss after allowing two runs, one earned, in 2.0 frames as the only Cub out of the bullpen in Game Two.
Now with three wins on the week, the River Bandits will enter game five on Saturday with a chance to win their 11th series of the year and will work behind Charlie Neuweiler (2-1, 5.61), while the Cubs will call upon Anderson Espinoza (0-2, 9.00) for the 6:05PM first pitch at Four Winds Field.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: The 2021 season marks the River Bandits’ first year as a new Advanced-A Major League affiliate. As such, the team will be offering higher-quality baseball than has ever before been played in the Quad Cities. Additionally, the Bandits will welcome a new MLB affiliate to the Quad Cities, the Kansas City Royals. The River Bandits anchor the Quad Cities’ sports-market, which The Sports Business Journal named the top minor-league sports-market in the country in 2015 and second-best minor-league market in its 2017 follow-up ranking. In 2015, 2017, and again in 2019, the River Bandits earned Ballpark Digest’s award for “Best Charitable Works” in Minor League Baseball, the only club to win that coveted award three times. For more information, visit www.riverbandits.com or contact General Manager Joe Kubly at (563) 333-2768.