BELOIT, Wis. - With their season hanging in the balance in the decisive Game 3 of the Midwest League Western Division final, the Quad Cities River Bandits matched a season high with 17 hits and pounded the Beloit Snappers for a 9-5 win at Pohlman Field Monday night that sent the visitors to their second Midwest League Championship Series in three seasons.
The River Bandits won the best-of-three series, two games to one, and advanced to a best-of-five championship with the South Bend Silver Hawks, who won 9-5 at home over the Fort Wayne TinCaps in Game 3 of the Eastern Division final Monday night. Quad Cities will play Games 1 and 2 at Four Winds Field in South Bend Wednesday and Thursday. Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Modern Woodmen Park, and tickets will be available at the River Bandits box office, by phone at563-324-3000 and at www.riverbandits.com beginning Tuesday at 9 a.m. If necessary, Games 4 and 5 would also be at Modern Woodmen Park on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Quad Cities took a lead in the second inning against Snappers right-hander Derek DeYoung (0-1). First baseman Bobby Borchering broke an 0-for-12 postseason start with a single to left-center field. Third baseman Rio Ruiz lifted a two-run home run - his second of the playoffs - just to the left of the batter's eye in center field for a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, center fielder Teoscar Hernandez led off with his first postseason home run, and shortstop Carlos Correa followed with his first of the playoffs to cap the first pair of back-to-back home runs by the River Bandits this season. After left fielder Danry Vasquez drew a walk, DeYoung was removed for right-hander Trevor Bayless, who allowed another run to score after walking Ruiz, who made a delayed break for second with two outs, allowing Vasquez to score on a double steal when the throw went past second base.
With a 5-0 lead, right-hander Daniel Minor (1-0), who struck out four batters in the first two innings, allowed a leadoff, third-inning home run by Snappers shortstop Sam Roberts. Minor then retired six straight batters before center fielder Brett Vertigan and catcher Nick Rickles hit consecutive doubles to start the fifth inning. In his first postseason outing, Minor allowed six hits, no walks and two earned runs, and he matched season highs with six strikeouts in six innings.
Seven River Bandits had multi-hit games to amass 17 hits - matching their regular season high set April 6 at Kane County. Quad Cities built its lead by scoring in five straight innings. Already with a 5-1 lead in the fourth, designated hitter Brian Blasik doubled and scored on Correa's RBI groundout. In the fifth, Borchering had his third hit with a leadoff double against Bayless, and right fielder Jordan Scott hit an RBI double for a 7-1 lead. Borchering and Scott had team highs with three hits apiece. Scott finished a home run shy of the cycle.
In the sixth, Hernandez hit a one-out single, and Correa drove an RBI triple down the right-field line. Vasquez then hit an RBI single for a 9-2 advantage. Right-hander Juan Minaya inherited that lead to start the seventh but allowed the first four batters of the eighth to reach safely, and the Snappers closed within 9-5. Left-hander Mitchell Lambson worked around two hits in the final two scoreless innings.
Monday's victory means The Captain's Table at 4801 River Drive in Moline will offer The Captain's Table Victory Discount on Tuesday, Sept. 10. 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, Sept. 10.
UP NEXT: Tickets for the 2013 Midwest League Championship Series will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. 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 ownership is making 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 planned for next spring, along with a carousel and other new games and attractions. This season, the team just unveiled a new 300-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. The team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, just saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The playoffs will likely be the last chance for Quad Cities fans to see 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa and many other future stars in a River Bandits uniform.