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Gentry homers twice, drives in six as Bandits roll
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MINOR LEAGUES | Q-C 11, BELOIT 5

Gentry homers twice, drives in six as Bandits roll

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River Bandits logo (Blue)

Tyler Gentry finished what he started Wednesday.

The Quad Cities outfielder homered in his first and final at-bats and drove home six of the River Bandits’ runs in an 11-5 victory over Beloit at Modern Woodmen Park.

A third-round pick of the Royals in the 2020 draft out of Alabama, Gentry explored both sides of the outfield fence with his third and fourth home runs of the season in the High A Central League game.

He drove an opposite-field three-run shot to right to give Quad Cities an early 3-1 advantage in the first inning and then dropped a towering two-run blast over the fence in left with one out in the seventh as the River Bandits opened a 9-2 lead.

“He has that kind of power, we saw that in instructional league last fall, and the thing I really liked was the way he battled before that first home run,’’ Quad Cities manager Chris Widger said.

“To be behind in the count and to turn on a fastball the way he did and take it the opposite way, it was great to see.’’

Gentry wasn’t the only River Bandits batter clearing the fences.

Nick Loftin and Eric Cole each belted two-run home runs as well among the 12 hits Quad Cities collected.

After being held to one hit in a series-opening 7-0 loss to the Snappers on Tuesday, it was the type of turnaround Widger was hoping to see.

“We talked a bit about being more aggressive and not being so passive, especially early, and I felt the guys responded well,’’ Widger said. “We haven’t been swinging the bats as well as I know we will further into the season, but this was a good game for us.’’

Gentry’s first home run was one of a pair which gave Quad Cities starting pitcher Anthony Veneziano an early lead.

Veneziano teamed with Will Klein, Garrett Davila and Jonah Dipoto on the six-hit victory. Veneziano allowed one hit and recorded seven of the Snappers’ 14 strikeouts in a four-inning start.

“Anthony struggled a bit early, but settled in and was able to get some quick outs that allowed him to get his four innings in, which was good,’’ Widger said.

Klein earned his second win in as many decisions, touching 100 miles per hour with a pair of pitches during two innings of one-hit relief work.

“That was the Will Klein we saw in the spring. He had a couple of triple-digit fastballs and it was good to see him be more aggressive than we’ve seen the last time or two out,’’ Widger said.

The Snappers had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a run-scoring single by Will Banfield, but the River Bandits answered in the bottom half of the inning.

Gentry put Quad Cities on the board, driving the first of his two hits in the game out of the park after Cole had walked and Michael Massey reached on an infield single.

The River Bandits repeated the two-out blast an inning later.

Quad Cities opened a 5-1 lead when Loftin followed a single by Tucker Bradley with a towering shot to left-center.

Loftin and Gentry had a hand in extending the River Bandits’ margin to 7-1 in the fifth inning.

After Loftin singled to open the inning, a fielder’s choice by Massey positioned runners on the corners. Vinnie Pasquantino followed with an RBI single and Gentry added to the lead with a sacrifice fly.

Beloit got into the long ball act as well in the eighth when Kameron Misner belted a two-run home run to trim the River Bandits’ lead to 9-4.

Cole answered in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run shot of his own after Tucker Bradley had reached on his third hit of the game.

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