According to River Bandits slugger Cody Stanley, the best thing you can do in a pressure situation is clear your mind.
Stanley cracked the game-tying, bases-loaded double in the bottom of the sixth, and Victor Sanchez knocked him in one pitch later to rally Quad-Cities to a 4-3 win over Lansing at Modern Woodmen Park on Wednesday.
Starting at designated hitter instead of his usual catching spot, Stanley tried not to dwell on his strikeouts during his first two at-bats when he came to the plate in the the sixth with the Bandits trailing by three and the bases loaded with two outs.
“When I’m catching, I can clear. I put catching and hitting in separate categories,” Stanley said. “I think about hitting the whole time I’m DH-ing. Constantly thinking about your past at-bats is not what you want to do.”
That same clear-headed approach worked for Sanchez, as well, with Stanley on second.
“When I tend to think about it, that’s when I get tense and just swing at everything,” Sanchez said. “I was saying, ‘OK, there’s no score, no inning, I’m just going up there trying to get a pitch that I can hit.”
Quad-Cities managed only a Colin Walsh double in the fourth off Lansing starter Sean Nolin until the bats came alive in the sixth. Walsh’s single in the sixth loaded the bases and set up Stanley and Sanchez’s heroics. It was the second game in a row the River Bandits had scored the four runs with two outs.
Rock Falls (Ill.) native Seth Blair started the game for the Bandits and worked five innings, allowing the three runs on four hits and and two walks, while striking out two. Dean Kiekhefer and Aidan Lucas pitched two-hit relief over the final four innings to earn the win and save respectively.
“You need your bullpen to step up,” Bandits manager Johnny Rodriguez said. “He (Blair) had deep counts, got to pitch behind and found ways to get people out. Outstanding job from Seth tonight.”
Blair’s streak extended: Seth Blair has not lost in his past six starts and is 3-0 in that period.
Sure-handed Lugnuts: Lansing did not commit an error Wednesday. The Lugnuts lead the Midwest League with 102, even though they are in first place in the Western Division.
First dinger for Nuzzo: Lansing second baseman Matt Nuzzo hit his first homer of the season. His solo blast extended an early Lugnut lead to 2-0.