Davenport, IA - The Peoria Chiefs got a great pitching performance from Zach Prendergast and some timely hitting to beat the Quad Cities River Bandits 7-2 and sweep the first round series. The Chiefs advance to the Western Division Finals which start Saturday in either Cedar Rapids or Beloit. Game two will be in Peoria Sunday at 4:00 p.m. and if needed game three will be in Peoria on Monday at 6:30 p.m.
The Chiefs jumped out to an early lead against River Bandits starter Chad Donato. Andres Luna led off the third inning with a triple off the wall in right field and he scored on a two-out single by Luken Baker as the Chiefs went on top 1-0.
Quad Cities took the lead in the bottom of the inning against Zach Prendergast. Two errors in the inning by first baseman Yariel Gonzalez helped the hosts take a 2-1 lead with a RBI double from Marty Costes who came around to score the second run.
The Chiefs still trailed by a run in the sixth when reliever Humberto Castellanos took over on the mound. Gonzalez led off with a single and Dennis Ortega singled to put two on base with no outs. With the Bandits shifting, Nolan Gorman delivered an opposite field single to tie the game 2-2 and put runners on the corners. Castellanos got two quick outs before Luna singled to center for a 3-2 lead. Justin Toerner singled to right-center to bring home Luna and Gorman came around to score when the throw back to the infield got away from the cutoff man for a 5-2 Chiefs lead.
Peoria added on in the seventh against reliever Willy Collado. Baker led off with a walk and moved to third on a single by Gonzalez. Ortega walked to load the bases and Gorman drove in Baker with a fielders' choice while Gonzalez scored on the play thanks to an error at first base to put the Chiefs up 7-2.
Prendergast (1-0) struck out 11 and allowed two unearned runs on three hits and a walk over five innings. CJ Saylor struck out three and allowed two hits over 2 1/3 shutout innings. Fabian Blanco struck out three over 1 2/3 perfect innings.
Notes: Prendergast tied the Chiefs single-game franchise record with 11 strikeouts…Britt Reames struck out 11 against Wisconsin in the first round in 1996 and Justin Pope struck out 11 in the first game of the 2002 MWL Finals against Lansing…The 11 strikeouts are the most by a non-rehab Chiefs pitcher this season…Gonzalez has two hits in four straight games dating back to the final two regular season games…Baker drove in four runs in the series…Chiefs pitchers struck out 17 in the game and 28 in the series…Quad Cities did not score an earned run in the series…Gonzalez last played a full game at first base on July 22…He last started at the position on August 13…The Chiefs were 3-10 in the regular season in Davenport with a 1-5 mark in Iowa in the second half…The Chiefs are 6-7 in game two of a first round series…The Chiefs also had a sweep in the first round in 2015…Peoria avenged a first round loss to the River Bandits from last season…The Chiefs had lost five straight playoff games in the state of Iowa dating back to a Western Division Finals game one win at Cedar Rapids exactly 16 years ago Thursday…All-time the Chiefs are 7-11 against Iowa teams in the playoffs, 3-7 on the road…The Chiefs will face either Cedar Rapids or Beloit on the road Saturday in game one of the Western Division Finals…Game two will be at Dozer Park on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. with tickets going on sale Friday at 10:00 a.m. at the Dozer Park Box Office and www.peoriachiefs.com...Game three if needed would be at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Peoria.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.