BELOIT, Wis. - Quad Cities River Bandits right-hander Michael Feliz struck out seven batters and allowed a lone unearned run in a season-high seven innings, while designated hitter Brian Holberton and right fielder Brett Phillips hit solo home runs to lift the visitors to a 3-1 victory over the Beloit Snappers at Pohlman Field Tuesday night.
In his longest outing since a seven-inning start last Sept. 6 in the New York-Penn League playoffs, Feliz (4-2) out-dueled Snappers right-hander Junior Mendez (2-4), who also went seven innings, allowing two runs - one earned. Each pitcher walked only one batter, and Feliz struck out seven, while Mendez fanned six. Feliz has allowed one unearned run while striking out 17 in 14 innings against Beloit.
Through four scoreless innings, each team had one hit. With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Mendez had set down 12 straight batters before Holberton launched a 1-0 fastball over the fence in right-center field for his sixth home run. In the bottom of the inning, Feliz had retired 11 batters in a row before a one-out double by Snappers right fielder Tyler Marincov. A wild pitch and walk put runners at first and third bases, but Feliz got catcher Jose Chavez to fly out to right field to keep the 1-0 lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, River Bandits center fielder James Ramsay hit a leadoff single, went to third base after two groundouts and scored on a passed ball by Chavez to extend the lead to 2-0. In the bottom of the sixth, a one-out throwing error by second baseman Jose Fernandez allowed center fielder B.J. Boyd to reach first base. Third baseman Matt Chapman then swatted his second double of the game to left-center field, scoring Boyd to make it 2-1. During the next at-bat, however, River Bandits catcher Jake Rodriguez threw to shortstop Thomas Lindauer to pick off Chapman, eliminating what would be the Snappers' last opportunity with the tying run in scoring position.
Rain interrupted play for seven minutes in the top of the seventh inning, but Mendez completed a season-high seven-inning start. Feliz worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the inning, before Quad Cities (6-6 second half, 41-40 overall) turned to right-hander Frederick Tiburcio to start the bottom of the eighth inning with a 2-1 lead. Tiburcio fanned the last two batters in a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
In the top of the ninth, Phillips blasted the first pitch from right-hander Bobby Wahl over the right-field fence for his fifth home run, widening the lead to 3-1. Wahl worked two innings out of the bullpen for Beloit (2-9, 32-49).
Tiburcio also worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to convert his fifth straight save opportunity. Quad Cities won its seventh straight game over Beloit, which has also lost seven straight overall
Winners of four straight series openers and now 5-4 on their 11-game road trip, the River Bandits continue their series in Beloit at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Quad Cities left-hander Evan Grills (2-3) is scheduled to face Beloit right-hander Hunter Adkins (0-1).
UP NEXT: The River Bandits return home for the Fourth of July weekend, beginning with a 7 p.m. game Friday, July 4, to be followed by Fourth of July Fireworks presented by Smart Toyota of the Quad Cities, WLLR and WQAD. Game tickets are available at www.riverbandits.com. To order any of the River Bandits 2014 ticket plans - with new lower prices - call the River Bandits box office at 563-324-3000. Season ticket and mini-plan packages start at just seven games and begin at less than $40. Call a River Bandits account representative today to choose your seats and get the details of our various mini-plan packages.
ABOUT THE BANDITS: Having just been named Ballpark Digest's winner of Best Ballpark Improvement in America under $1 million, the River Bandits ownership recently made one of the biggest improvements to Modern Woodmen Park since the ballpark was first built back in 1931! A new Ferris wheel, standing 105 feet over the playing field, opened May 24, and Space Camp opened June 20. Soon to come is another new ride, this one called a "Drop and Twist." In 2013, the team unveiled a new 220-foot long dual zip line, a rock climbing wall, and a number of new bounce houses. Last season, the team's major league affiliate, the Houston Astros, saw all six of its affiliates reach the playoffs - the first time in a decade any MLB team can claim such success. The River Bandits were one of three affiliates to reach the championship round and one of two to win their league championship.