SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Quad Cities River Bandits right-hander Chris Devenski struck out a season-high nine batters in seven innings, right fielder Jordan Scott hit a game-tying home run in the seventh inning, and third baseman Rio Ruiz hit a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning of a 3-2 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks in the opener of the Midwest League Championship Series at Four Winds Field at Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium Wednesday night.
Opening its second Midwest League Championship Series in three seasons, Quad Cities took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five matchup. Game 2 will be at 6:05 p.m. Thursday in South Bend, with River Bandits left-hander Joe Bircher (3-3 regular season, 1-0 postseason) scheduled to face Silver Hawks right-hander Blake Perry (8-7, 0-0). Game 3 will be Saturday at 7 p.m. at Modern Woodmen Park.
Quad Cities took a lead in the third inning against South Bend right-hander Braden Shipley. Designated hitter Brian Blasik drew a one-out walk, and second baseman Tony Kemp reached on an infield single toward third. Both advanced when center fielder Teoscar Hernandez flied out to center field. Shortstop Carlos Correa and left fielder Danry Vasquez each walked to force home the first run.
Devenski (1-0) kept the 1-0 lead despite lone doubles in the second and third innings. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Silver Hawks first baseman Rudy Flores hit a one-out double, and second baseman Fidel Pena cracked a two-run home run to right-center field, giving his team its first lead of the game at 2-1. Devenski then retired 11 of 13 batters, including six on strikeouts, to finish his outing.
Shipley held the lead until Scott led off the seventh with his first home run since June 24, 2012, with the Lexington Legends. In a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the seventh, Devenski allowed a one-out single by Silver Hawks designated hitter Justin Williams but stranded him at third by striking out left fielder Chuck Taylor. South Bend went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left six on base.
In the eighth inning, Correa hit a leadoff single to chase right-hander Kyle Winkler (0-1). Vasquez then grounded into a fielder's choice against left-hander Daniel Gibson, who threw a wild pick-off attempt to first base that moved Vasquez to third with one out. Gibson struck out first baseman Bobby Borchering, but Ruiz fought to a 2-2 count before grounding his first hit of the game through the right side to score Vasquez with two outs for a 3-2 lead. It was Quad Cities' only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Right-hander Patrick Christensen inherited the lead and got two of the first three hitters in the eighth. With center fielder Socrates Brito at first base from his one-out single, right-hander Andrew Walter struck out Flores to end the inning. In the ninth, Pena hit a leadoff single against Walter and went to second base on a sacrifice. Walter then got a strikeout and flyout to left field to earn his third postseason save.
Wednesday's victory means The Captain's Table at 4801 River Drive in Moline will offer The Captain's Table Victory Discount on Thursday, Sept. 12. 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 Thursday, Sept. 12.
UP NEXT: The River Bandits will give away nine DVD players - one for each inning - and nine baseball-themed movies courtesy of American TV & Appliance in Davenport at the first Championship Series home game at 7 p.m. Saturday. Fireworks will follow the game, and 12-ounce beer and soda, as well as hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and nachos are $1 each. All regular individual tickets are $5 each 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 Championship Series 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.