One rough inning decided the outcome of Sunday’s Quad-Cities River Bandits game, but it didn’t dictate what transpired over the rest of the game.
“I saw guys having good at-bats and generally I feel like we’re swinging the bat well, but it’s tough to come back with enough offense when you fall behind by six,’’ Quad-Cities manager Ray Hernandez following his team’s 8-2 Midwest League loss to Kane County at Modern Woodmen Park.
“At that point, you want to see guys continue to compete and stay in it on defense and I saw that.’’
The Cougars collected all of the runs they needed while batting around in the top of the third inning.
Kristian Robinson, the second-ranked prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, capped a six-run inning with a three-run home run off of River Bandits starter Matt Ruppenthal.
Robinson’s third home run in 18 games since joining the Cougars from short-season Hillsboro came after Kane County had bunched together three other hits and walked twice.
Zac Almond, who had reached on an inning-opening walk, scored the Cougars’ first run when KeShawn Lynch doubled off the wall in right.
Zack Shannon followed two-run single that preceded Robinson’s shot to right.
“I think Ruppenthal probably got caught throwing too many off-speed pitches in the one inning,’’ Hernandez said. “They were able to get the leadoff walk, got ahead in counts and did some damage and then delivered the knockout blow with the home run.’’
You have free articles remaining.
A leadoff walk to Dominic Fletcher positioned Kane County to extend its lead to 7-0 in the fifth, scoring when Blaze Alexander split the gap in left center for a triple.
Quad-Cities, which matched the Cougars’ six hits, pushed single runs across in the fifth and seventh innings but was unable to bunch anything together against Kane County pitchers Adridan Del Moral, Yaramil Hiraldo and Chester Pimentel.
Pimental struck out six over the final two innings to help the Cougars match the 11 strikeouts recorded by the three Quad-Cities pitchers who saw action, Ruppenthal, Joey Gonzalez and Jacob Billingsley.
AJ Lee drove in both of the River Bandits’ runs, bringing Alex Holderbach home in the fifth on a groundout after he had doubled to open the inning.
Lee drove his own double into left in the seventh to score Trey Dawson, who had opened the inning with a single to right.
The extra-base hit was the first in nine games for Lee since joining Quad-Cities.
“I’ve been struggling a bit settling in, but I was able to put a good swing on the ball. It felt good and hopefully I can build off of it,’’ said Lee, a 34th-round pick of the Astros in the June draft from Maryland.
“It was a tough game, they had one inning that decided it and sometimes that’s the game, but we kept working and that’s what we’re about. We just have to keep at it. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what everybody is doing.’’