The Quad Cities River Bandits came back to tie the South Bend Silver Hawks, 4-4, in the seventh inning Thursday night, but the Midwest League Eastern Division leaders scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 6-4 win, and the River Bandits left a season-high 15 runners on base in their second straight loss at Coveleski Stadium.
In a 4-4 tie entering the bottom of the eighth inning, left-hander Colton Cain (0-3) allowed three straight hits after having shut out South Bend for two innings. Silver Hawks third baseman Brandon Drury hit a leadoff single to left field, and designated hitter Ryan Court hit a double into the right-field corner to put runners at second and third with no outs. First baseman Frazier Hall then lined a go-ahead RBI single to left-center field, ending Cain's outing with four hits allowed in two innings. Right-hander John Neely entered to face center fielder Breland Almadova, who grounded out to shortstop to bring in Court for a 6-4 advantage. Both runs were charged to Cain.
In the ninth inning against Silver Hawks right-hander Enrique Burgos, River Bandits third baseman Ryan Dineen drew a leadoff walk - his fourth base on balls of the game and eighth in his last 10 plate appearances. After flyouts by designated hitter Jobduan Morales and pinch hitter Austin Elkins, left fielder Jordan Scott drew the River Bandits lineup's 11th walk - matching a season high set on Tuesday. Center fielder Teoscar Hernandez then flied out to center field, giving Burgos his second save and the Silver Hawks (18-6) their seventh straight win and fifth straight season series win over Quad Cities.
The River Bandits (15-10) opened the game by scoring a run on three walks and a hit batter in the first inning against right-handed starter Kyle Schepel, who walked six batters in four innings. The Silver Hawks (18-6) quickly snatched the lead with three runs in the bottom of the first. Court hit a go-ahead, two-run double against right-hander Mike Hauschild and scored on an error by shortstop Brian Blasik.
Quad Cities closed within 3-2 on first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki's third home run of the season in the third inning. But South Bend answered with shortstop Pedro Ruiz's sacrifice fly in the fourth against Hauschild, who allowed six hits, four runs - three earned - and a walk while striking out one in four innings. Left-hander Mitchell Lambson tossed a perfect fifth inning before Cain started the sixth.
South Bend used four relief pitchers, beginning with right-hander J.R. Bradley in the top of the fifth inning. He worked two scoreless frames before right-hander Thomas Brendel started the seventh inning and allowed the tying runs on RBI singles by Dineen and designated hitter Jobduan Morales. In the eighth inning, Quad Cities threatened to break the tie by loading the bases against right-hander Frank Santana (3-0). But Santana induced a ground ball by catcher Roberto Peña, who had earlier extended his team-best hitting streak to 10 games. Quad Cities left the bases loaded in the first and eighth innings and left two on to end the third, fourth, fifth and ninth innings.
The River Bandits remained three games out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division and will try to avoid their first sweep by an opponent this season when they play the finale in South Bend at 6:35 p.m. Friday. Quad Cities right-hander Jordan Jankowski (0-0) and left-hander Brian Holmes (2-2) will face Silver Hawks right-hander Brandon Sinnery (0-0).