It was strictly business Tuesday night on the mound at Modern Woodmen Park and business was good.
Dean Deetz, Enoli Paredes and Yohan Ramirez combined to strike out 14 Clinton batters, crafting a four-hit shutout as the Quad-Cities River Bandits moved within two games of the division-leading LumberKings with a 4-0 Midwest League victory.
The shutout was the second in three games for Quad-Cities, which is also one game behind second-place Peoria in the standings with five games remaining in the chase for two available first-half playoff berths.
“Pitching has been our glue all season and those guys came out and did their thing again,’’ River Bandits manager Mickey Storey said.
“We put ourselves in a tough spot at Wisconsin (getting swept in three games), but we’re hanging in there. We’re getting just enough offense, cobbling a few runs together, but the pitching remains a constant.’’
The LumberKings’ only hit through five innings came with one out in the first when Ariel Sandoval lashed a double to left center off of Deetz, who was making a one-inning rehab start for the River Bandits.
Clinton didn’t connect again until Joseph Rosa singled off of Paredes with two outs in the top of the sixth, ending a string of 15 straight outs.
Paredes retired the first 14 batters he faced, including seven strikeouts, before Rosa drove his single into center.
Sandoval followed with a walk, but a Ryan Costello pop up ended Paredes’ five-inning, one-hit outing.
“The last two outings, we’ve essentially moved Paredes into a starting role and he’s thrown well. When it’s 14 up, 14 down, that’s about as good as it gets,’’ Storey said. “He did his job and Ramirez came in and did the same. It was a solid night on the mound.’’
By the time Paredes threw his first pitch, Quad-Cities had scored the only runs it needed when it pushed a pair across in the first.
Jake Meyers followed a leadoff walk to Alfredo Angerita with the first of his two doubles in the game, positioning both to score when Bryan De La Cruz drove a single into left with one out.
Meyers, Corey Julks and De La Cruz combined for eight of the River Bandits’ 11 hits, including three to open the sixth inning and end the start of Clinton’s Nick Wells.
Striking out nine over 5 1/3 innings, Wells exited after a pair of infield singles by Julks and De La Cruz allowed Meyers to score after he opened the bottom half of the inning with his 18th double of the season and his second of the night.
“We had everything clicking,’’ Meyers said. “Pitching, timely hits, it worked the way it is supposed to work. It was a good team win for us.’’
With an eighth-inning insurance run driven home on a two-out single by Adrian Tovalin, Ramirez made sure the River Bandits secured their sixth shutout of a 35-30 season. He struck out six LumberKings over the final two of his three shutout innings of relief work.
“It’s fun out in center watching those guys work,’’ Meyers said. “I feel like I’ve got the best seat in the house to watch them. When they’re dealing like that, it’s a good time.’’