J.J. Matijevic and Jonathan Arauz combined for six hits, two home runs, six runs batted in, and five runs scored as the Quad Cities River Bandits beat the Lansing Lugnuts 9-2 on Saturday night at Cooley School Stadium. Those offensive exploits, mixed with 15 combined strikeouts from left-handers Parker Mushinski and Adam Bleday, helped the River Bandits move into a second place tie in front of 3,918 fans.
The game started with a bang when Matijevic launched a 2-0 fastball from Lugnuts starter Yennsy Diaz over the batter's eye in center field for a solo home run. The outfielder had been activated from the disabled list earlier in the day after missing two weeks of action. Later in the inning, Bryan De La Cruz scored Arauz from third base with a sacrifice fly to open up a 2-0 lead.
Jake Meyers walked to open the third inning and then moved to third on a Matijevic single, leaving runners on the corners for Arauz. The 19-year old second baseman took advantage by slugging a three-run home run to right field that extended the lead to 5-0. The home run was Arauz's fourth in his last seven games.
The River Bandits made it 8-0 in the fourth inning. With two on and no outs, Meyers split the gap in right center with a triple to score both runners. He crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Arauz two batters later.
Lansing reached the scoreboard on an RBI double from Kevin Smith in the bottom of the fourth, but Quad Cities pushed the lead to eight once again with back-to-back doubles from Matijevic and Arauz in the eighth inning. Arauz finished 3-3 with a double, home run, and a season-high five RBI. The Lugnuts scored the final run of the game on Christian Williams' RBI double in the home half of the eighth.
Mushinski earned the win by tossing 5.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits, and recording eight strikeouts. Bleday followed by striking out seven over 2.2 innings. He allowed one run on a walk and a pair of hits. Cole Watts worked a scoreless ninth inning with help from a diving catch in center field from Meyers that ended the game. The 15 combined strikeouts matched the season-high for a nine-inning contest.
The River Bandits concluded the game with 13 hits. This was their fourth game during the road trip with at least 10 hits. Eight of the nine hitters in the lineup came up with at least one. Matijevic joined Arauz with three hits, going 3-4 with a double, home run, one RBI, and three runs scored.
The series between the River Bandits (15-12) and the Lugnuts (18-11) will conclude on Sunday afternoon at 12:05 p.m. LHP Patrick Sandoval (1-1, 6.30) will face off with Lansing RHP Graham Spraker (0-0, 2.29).
All River Bandits games are broadcast on 1170 K-BOB and TuneIn Radio. Home games are also available with video on MiLB.TV.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.