It was a night where two Quad-Cities River Bandits pitchers carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning. But most of the 5,705 fans likely left Modern Woodmen Park talking just as much about the River Bandits hitting.
As it was, Ronel Blanco (4-3) and Patrick Sandoval teamed up to three-hit the Beloit Snappers, helping the Bandits to an 8-2 victory. Together, they struck out nine with Sandoval throwing three perfect innings in relief before he gave up two clean singles and a deep double to left in the ninth.
Sandoval struck out the final batter for his sixth in four innings, earning his first save this season.
Jose Vidales lined a single to center to open the ninth to break up the no-hitter. Luke Persico followed with a ground single in the hole between short and third. And Kyle Nowlin’s 19th double to deep left ended the shutout, scoring both runners.
“Pitching did a great job,” River Bandits manager Russ Steinhorn said. “Both guys did a nice job getting ahead of hitters. They put guys away when they had two strikes and they made a lot of quality pitches tonight. There wasn’t much hard contact there.”
Hitting was also a major part of the River Bandits’ show as evidenced by their 14 hits and eight runs.
The River Bandits came into Saturday night’s game needing just one homer to tie the all-time franchise record for homers.
And in the third inning they tied it in grand style.
No, not with a grand slam. But a five-run fourth that saw the Bandits hit for the cycle as a team was capped off by Daz Cameron's homer high off the left-field foul pole for a 5-0 lead.
The homer was Cameron's 12th of the year and the team's 114th, tying the Quad-Cities all-time mark set by the 2010 team that was affiliated with the Cardinals.
More importantly Saturday, Cameron's homer followed a double by Chas McCormick, an RBI single by Chuckie Robinson, an RBI double by Troy Sieber and an RBI triple by Abraham Toro-Hernandez. All of the RBIs came with two out in the inning.
“Just going up there and doing what I believe I can do and just trusting it,” Cameron said. “And having fun and trying to win a ballgame as a team.”
All the while, amid some control challenges, Bandits’ starter Blanco (5-3) no-hit the Snappers through five innings. He was replaced to start the sixth by lefty Sandoval, who promptly struck out five in his first two innings. Blanco struck out three himself, but hit one batter and walked three others.
The River Bandits added a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Sieber, who had three hits for the night and two RBIs, and two more in the sixth on a two-run single by Ronnie Dawson.
Robinson also had three hits for the first place River Bandits (27-15), who increased their lead to 2.5 games over Beloit in the Midwest League’s Western Division.