Patrick Sandoval took the mound Thursday night with one objective.
"Pound the zone. I didn’t care if they hit it, but if they did they were going to be hitting something in the zone," Sandoval said.
One night after Quad-Cities pitchers walked a season-high 10 Kane County batters, Sandoval and Carlos Sanabria stuck to that approach as they crafted a 5-2 Midwest League victory at Modern Woodmen Park.
The pair combined over eight innings to walk just one batter while striking out 10 and scattering six hits to lead the River Bandits to a split of the four-game series.
"This was one we needed, and we played that way," Sandoval said after evening his record at 1-1. "Things felt good. I was able to throw what I wanted when I wanted. It feels good to get that first win."
Sandoval worked around trouble early and then cruised, retiring 10 straight batters in the second through fifth innings.
Kane County threatened in the top of the first when Luis Basabe opened the game with a single and took third on a double by Luis Silverado.
Sandoval ended the inning by recording two of his five strikeouts.
The Cougars didn’t move a runner beyond first base again until the fifth, ending Sandoval’s start when back-to-back singles and a groundout moved both runners into scoring position.
Sanabria maintained the shutout with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning, among a collection of five strikeouts he recorded over 2.2 innings before Colin McKee recorded the Bandits’ 11th strikeout while working a one-run ninth.
"Working out of jams like Sanabria did when he came in and like Sandoval did earlier, that’s huge," Quad-Cities manager Mickey Storey said. "It gets the whole dugout going."
Storey liked what he saw from Sandoval and Sanabria.
"Sandoval wasn’t thrilled with the way he threw on opening day, and he made a couple of adjustments. He put the work in, and it showed," Storey said. "Sanabria was equally good. His slider was especially sharp."
The River Bandits gave Sandoval an early lead to work with, scoring twice in each of the first two innings.
Jonathan Arauz hit safely in both innings, opening the first with a single to the hole at shortstop and pounding a double to center in the second, which doubled the 2-0 lead Quad-Cities had taken in the first off of Cougars starter Mack Lemieux.
Corey Julks followed the leadoff single by Arauz with a line-hugging double to left off of the Kane County left-hander, positioning the River Bandits to push runs across on consecutive groundouts by Jake Adams and Adrian Tovalin.
In the second, Bryan De La Cruz opened the home half of the inning by reaching on the first of his three singles and stealing second before Cody Bohanek walked.
Arauz followed with his first double of the season, a two-out hit that skipped beyond the reach of Luis Silverio in center.
Quad-Cities ended the start for LeMieux (0-2) in the fifth when Julks walked, stole second and then third before scoring on a fielder’s choice by Tovalin.