BELOIT, Wis. - Quad Cities River Bandits second baseman Jose Fernandez had a career-high four RBIs with his first career grand slam as the last of his team's three home runs, and left-hander Evan Grills allowed one run in five innings before play was stopped and eventually called off with Quad Cities earning an 8-1, five-inning win at rainy Pohlman Field Wednesday night.
In their shortest completed game since a 3-2, five-inning home win on June 29, 2012, the River Bandits (7-6 second half, 42-40 overall) won their eighth straight game in the season series with the Snappers (2-10, 32-50), who have also lost eight straight second-half games.
Rain fell for most of the game, and Snappers right-hander Hunter Adkins (0-2) began the game in a light shower by walking center fielder James Ramsay on four pitches. Adkins worked to an 0-2 count on third baseman Marc Wik, who then drove his first Midwest League home run to left-center field to give the River Bandits a 2-0 lead. Wik has also homered this season in the Texas and New York-Penn Leagues.
In the bottom of the first inning, Grills (3-3) allowed a one-out infield single by Snappers second baseman Chih-Fang Pan before grabbing a one-hop comebacker to the mound to begin a 1-4-3, inning-ending double play. Grills kept Beloit off the scoreboard until the bottom of the third inning, when first baseman B.A. Vollmuth hit a leadoff double and scored after two groundouts.
Quad Cities held a 2-1 lead with one out in the top of the fourth inning, when left fielder Ronnie Mitchell smacked the first pitch of his second at-bat against Adkins out to right-center field for his first home run since June 2 and team-high 10th of the season. Fernandez followed with a triple down the right-field line and scored on catcher Jake Rodriguez's RBI single to center field to make it 4-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, Adkins allowed a one-out walk to Wik, who reached base in all three of his plate appearances. With two outs, first baseman Chase McDonald hit a fly to left-center field, where Snappers center fielder B.J. Boyd dropped the ball, allowing Wik and McDonald to reach third and second bases, respectively. Adkins intentionally walked Mitchell before Fernandez launched an 0-1 pitch over the left-center field fence for his first home run since Aug. 21 and an 8-1 Quad Cities lead.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Grills gave up a one-out single to Vollmuth and a two-out single to Boyd before striking out shortstop Melvin Mercedes to complete five innings for his 10th straight start to begin the season. After the umpires called for the tarp to be put on the field and the game was later called as a final, Grills picked up his first win since May 31, having allowed five hits, one earned run and no walks with two strikeouts.
After clinching a winning road trip with a 6-4 record through 10 of 11 games, Quad Cities seek its first sweep of a road series at 7 p.m. Thursday in Beloit. River Bandits right-hander Kevin Comer (0-1) is scheduled to face Snappers right-hander Lou Trivino (4-6).
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.