The Quad Cities River Bandits snapped a scoreless tie with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning and added an insurance run in the eighth to hand the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Rattlers hitters were held to two hits and struck out thirteen times against four River Bandits pitchers.
Wisconsin (5-5) drew a walk in each of the first four innings against Quad Cities starting pitcher Mason Barnett but could not get a runner to cross home. Barnett had seven strikeouts and allowed one hit over five innings of shutout work.
The River Bandits (4-5) had two chances to score against Wisconsin starting pitcher Russell Smith. Gavin Cross doubled with two outs in the third inning. Joe Gray Jr preserved the scoreless tie when he made a diving catch of a sinking line drive off the bat of Jack Pineda for the final out.
In the fourth, Smith walked the first two batters he faced before escaping the inning with a foul pop and a 5-4-3 double play. Smith finished his first start of the season with four scoreless innings, one hit allowed, three walks, and five strikeouts.
Quad Cities kept the pressure on in the sixth inning as Paxton Wallace reached on a single and took second on a wild pitch by Michele Vassalotti to start the frame. Vassalotti struck out the next two batters, but Cross extended the frame with an infield single to put runners on the corners. Vassalotti ended the inning with a strikeout of Pineda to keep the game scoreless.
Luis Amaya took over for Vassalotti in the bottom of the seventh and got the first out. However, a double, a hit batsman, and a single loaded the bases to bring Cross back to the plate. Amaya got Cross, the #1 prospect in the Kansas City Royals system, on a strikeout for the second out.
That brought Pineda back to the plate. Amaya got two quick strikes on Pineda, but the 1-2 pitch got past catcher Darrien Miller to let the runner from third to score the first run of the game.
Wisconsin staged a two-out rally in the top of the eighth against Brandon Johnson. Robert Moore lined a double down the line in right and Gray drew a walk. Johnson rebounded to get a strikeout to end the threat.
The River Bandits added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by Juan Carlos Negret.
Darrien Miller drew a walk with one-out in the top of the ninth, but Quad Cities closer Anderson Paulino ended the game with a 6-4-3 double play.
Eric Brown Jr led the Wisconsin offense with two walks, a single, and two stolen bases.
The loss snapped Wisconsin’s three-game winning streak.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Joseph Hernandez (0-1, 5.63) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Quad Cities will counter with Tyson Guerrero (0-1, 10.80). Game time is 6:30pm. The radio broadcast is on AM 1280, WNAM starting with the Community Blood Center Pregame Show at 6:10pm and on the internet at this link. The game is also available to subscribers of Bally Live.