The Quad Cities River Bandits entered the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday night with a 3-0 lead on the road over the South Bend Silver Hawks, but the home team rallied for four runs on five hits in the next three innings to win their sixth straight game, 4-3, at Coveleski Stadium.
Quad Cities (15-9) built a lead with single runs in the first, second and fourth innings against Silver Hawks left-hander Daniel Watts (4-0). Shortstop Joe Sclafani singled as the second batter of the game, advanced to third base on a double by second baseman Austin Elkins, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesse Wierzbicki.
River Bandits catcher Roberto Peña led off the second inning with a double to left-center field and scored on right fielder Terrell Joyce’s double to right-center. Two innings later, Peña and Joyce helped extend the lead, as they each singled to put runners at first and second bases. Left fielder Jordan Scott then singled to left field, but when Peña was held at third base, Joyce was tagged out between second and third, while Scott went to second base. With two outs, center fielder Teoscar Hernandez grounded a ball deep in the hole at shortstop, and shortstop Pedro Ruiz dove to slow the hit in shallow left field before picking up the ball to throw out Scott at the plate to end the inning.
After that, Quad Cities had two singles in the fifth inning against Watts, who set down the next eight batters to end his outing with seven innings pitched, 10 hits, three earned runs, no walks and four strikeouts for the Silver Hawks (17-6).
Meanwhile, River Bandits right-hander Daniel Minor took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning after allowing only three hits through the first four. Center fielder Breland Almadova started the Silver Hawks’ rallyw tih a single to right field, and with two outs, Minor hit Ruiz with a pitch before second baseman Kevin Medrano drove a ball to left-center field that went off the glove of Hernandez and allowed two runs to score. Minor retired the next batter to finish five innings with five hits, two runs, no walks and two strikeouts.
With a 3-2 lead, right-hander Lance McCullers (0-3) started the sixth inning by allowing singles to third baseman Brandon Drury and first baseman Ryan Court. Consecutive groundouts by right fielder Socrates Brito and catcher Roidany Aguila advanced each runner two bases to tie the game, 3-3. In the seventh inning, Ruiz reached on a leadoff bunt single to the third-base side of the pitcher’s mound. He advanced to second base on McCullers’ wild pickoff throw to first base and went to third base on Medrano’s a groundout. Designated hitter Fidel Peña then chopped a ball on the artificial turf that second baseman Brian Blasik leaped to grab before throwing to first base for the second out – which was enough to bring in Ruiz for the Silver Hawks’ first lead.
South Bend right-hander Chris Capper pitched the eighth inning and allowed a one-out single by designated Miles Hamblin but got Roberto Peña to line out to Drury at third base for a double play. In the ninth inning, Blasik hit a leadoff single against right-hander R.J. Hively, who induced a ground ball double play from Joyce and a bunt groundout by Jordan Scott for his league-high seventh save.
The River Bandits continue their series in South Bend at 6:05 p.m. Thursday at Coveleski Stadium.