Peoria wasn’t the only thing that tested the Quad-Cities River Bandits on Thursday.
Pitcher Carson LaRue coped with a persistent rain to push Quad-Cities past the Chiefs 6-1 at Modern Woodmen Park.
LaRue scattered four hits over five shutout innings and the River Bands clubbed three home runs to win the deciding game of the three-game Midwest League series.
“Our mental toughness was tested by the conditions and a good opponent and we handled it well,’’ Quad-Cities manager Russ Steinhorn said. “To play error-free in those conditions and to get solid pitching, it was a pretty focused team effort.’’
LaRue moved to 2-0 with his fourth five-inning outing of the season, striking out four and walking two batters.
“He’s been very reliable for us, mixing his pitches well and keeping us in games,’’ Steinhorn said. “He didn’t have any 1-2-3 innings and that ran up his pitch count a bit, but he gave us a good start in less-than-ideal conditions.’’
Quad-Cities clubbed seven extra-base hits – three homers and four doubles – and they led all six of the River Bandits’ runs across home plate.
Ronnie Dawson set the tone, depositing a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first inning over the wall in right.
Randy Cesar extended the River Bandits’ lead to 3-0 with a two-run blast to left in the fourth and Jake Rogers added a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh.
Through 20 games, Quad-Cities has now hit a national minor-league best 31 home runs, more than half of the team total of 61 the River Bandits hit during the entire 2016 season.
“They started to pitch us backward later in the game, but our hitters were still working hard and making good contact,’’ Steinhorn said. “Jake got ahold of one, (Alex) De Goti took a ball to the fence, (Marcos) Almonte made contact. That was good to see.’’
Rogers’ fourth homer of the season answered a Peoria run in the top half of the inning on a Tommy Edmon single, just after Rodrigo Ayarza had extended the Quad-Cities lead to 5-0 with his second double of the game, a two-run drive into right.