Hitless through three games since returning from the disabled list, Adrian Tovalin turned things around in his first two at-bats Sunday.
With his team trailing 6-0 midway through the third inning, the Quad-Cities infielder followed a run-scoring double with a three-run home run to spark the River Bandits to an 11-7 Midwest League win over Beloit at windswept Modern Woodmen Park.
“It felt good to finally put the bat on the ball,’’ Tovalin said. “The first three games, they were a little frustrating, but I stuck with the plan and let things happen.’’
A wind gusting over 30 miles per hour blowing out to left didn’t hurt, either.
Tovalin positioned the River Bandits for their second straight come-from-behind victory when he got ahold of an off-speed pitch that ended up clearing the left-center field fence, a three-run homer that cut the Snappers’ lead to 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth.
“I was able to get a decent cut on it and it just kept going. The wind gets an assist on that one, but I’ll take it,’’ Tovalin said. “Mickey (Storey, the River Bandits manager) always talks about continuing to fight, no matter what. You never know what’s going to happen in this game.’’
Sometimes, things like a six-run seventh inning happen.
Trailing 7-5, Quad-Cities sent 11 batters to the plate and collected five of its 12 hits in the bottom of a deciding inning that opened with back-to-back singles by Tovalin and Michael Papierski which chased Snappers starter Xavier Alamirano from the game.
His replacement, Nick Highberger, couldn’t find the strike zone.
His first 12 pitches were balls, resulting in a walk to Jake Meyers that loaded the bases that preceded run-scoring walks to Jonathan Arauz and Corey Julks that tied the game at 7-7.
Jake Adams, who joined Arauz in being promoted to high-A Buies Creek following the game, moved Quad-Cities ahead to stay by driving a two-run double over the head of center fielder Austin Beck.
Reliever Adam Reuss threw a wild pitch and surrendered a RBI single to Roman Garcia that grew the River Bandits’ lead to 11-7.
“Even back in the fourth inning when things started, everybody was into it and there was a feeling in the dugout that they weren’t going to stop our offense,’’ pitcher Patrick Sandoval said. “There was a feeling then that we were going to win, that it was going to happen.’’
Sandoval scattered seven hits over four innings but did his part, improving to 5-1 as he teamed with Carlos Sanabria to limit Beloit to one run over the final six innings.
“I didn’t have my best stuff, but for the most part I got out of what I got myself into,’’ Sandoval said. “I did what I could.’’
He did slow the Snappers’ momentum.
Beloit counted six doubles among its first seven hits and took advantage of five walks to open a 6-0 lead midway through the third inning.
Trace Loehr and Beck, the sixth overall pick in baseball’s 2017 draft, led the Snappers with three hits apiece and helped end the start for Cesar Rosado after two innings.
The River Bandits’ right hander gave up four doubles and walked three batters before reliever Brendan Feldmann surrendered three runs on two doubles during a three-run third.
“Rosado didn’t have much of anything going for him,’’ Storey said. “It was a tough start for a day that ended a lot better than it started.’’