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River Bandits Thump Bees, 12-2, To Move To 5-0

The Quad Cities River Bandits raced to an 11-2 lead by the third inning Monday night at Community Field, and after the Burlington Bees' first three batters had hits, left-hander Joe Bircher and right-hander Vincent Velasquez combined to no-hit the home team the rest of the way in a 12-2 win that made Quad Cities 5-0 on the season.

Center fielder Teoscar Hernandez led the visitors with four hits in six at-bats, including a his first of two doubles leading off the first inning. Following a walk by shortstop Carlos Correa, designated hitter Chase Davidson struck out swinging. But the pitch by right-hander Cam Bedrosian (0-1) escaped catcher Anthony Bemboom, allowing Hernandez to score on Bedrosian's second wild pitch of the inning. The next batter, first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki, launched his first Midwest League home run well past the second tier of outfield signs to make it 4-0 after four batters.

The Bees (2-3) also put their first four batters on base, as Bircher allowed a double to designated hitter Sherman Johnson, a bunt single by right fielder Kyle Johnson and a run-scoring single by Bemboom before hitting first baseman Wade Hinkle with a pitch to load the bases. But after a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Borkowski, Bircher induced a ground-ball double play off the bat of third baseman Michael Bolaski and retired center fielder Chevy Clarke on a groundout to second base.

The 4-2 deficit was the closest Burlington came the rest of the night. In the top of the second, Davidson hit the first of his three RBI singles, and Wierzbicki laced an RBI double to left-center field to restore the four-run lead at 6-2. In the third inning, Bedrosian walked the first two batters before yielding the mound to right-hander Jake Boyd. Quad Cities second baseman brought in two runs with a double to left-center field, Hernandez and Davidson added RBI singles, and Wierzbicki drove in his team-leading fifth run on a fielder's choice to make it 11-2. In the fifth inning, Davidson's final RBI single capped the scoring.

Meanwhile, Bircher (1-0) retired 14 of the final 16 Bees he faced, with his two walks accounting for the only Bees baserunners after the first inning. Only one batter hit the ball out of the infield against Bircher after Bemboom's first-inning RBI single.

With a 12-2 lead in the sixth inning, right-hander Vincent Velasquez came in as part of the scheduled tandem and retired all 12 batters he faced for a perfect four-inning save. Velasquez recorded six strikeouts, including four straight in the seventh and eighth innings.

The River Bandits will continue the series at Burlington Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Right-handers Daniel Minor (1-0) and Lance McCullers (0-0) are scheduled to face left-hander Brandon Love (0-1).

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