Rio Ruiz tied a career-high with three hits to lead the Bandits to a 5-3 victory over the Cougars in front of 3,558 fans at Modern Woodmen Park in the second half opener of the season on Thursday night.
Kane County was first to score with a pair of runs in the second. Bandit starter Juan Minaya issued a walk to Rock Shoulders and then a double from Marco Hernandez to put runners on second and third with no outs. The 22-year-old Dominican followed with two quick outs, on a Willson Contreras' lineout and striking out Gioskar Amaya, before allowing up a 2-run triple by Oliver Zapata to the corner in right and giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
Quad Cities balanced the scale in the second on a RBI-double from Ruiz to the wall in left-center field, scoring Roberto Pena from first base. Pena led off the frame with a single up the middle. Ruiz advanced to third on a groundout to second off the bat of Jordan Scott, and came around to score on a grounder from Brett Phillips that went through the legs of Jeimer Candelario at third.
Wierzbicki lined a single to right with two outs in the third to score Teoscar Hernandez from third for the go-ahead run. Teoscar Hernandez doubled with one out and moved to third on a fly out from Carlos Correa to center.
The River Bandit lead was extended to two runs in the fifth. Ruben Sosa laced a triple over the head of the shortstop Marco Hernandez that found its way to the wall in left-center. Teoscar Hernandez followed with a fly ball to right that was deep enough to buy time for Sosa to tag up and score.
Scheduled secondary starter Vincent Velasquez entered to start the sixth. Oliver Zapata hit a sharp chopper to the first baseman Wierzbicki for an infield-hit, and advanced to third on a double by Bijan Rademacher. Albert Almora then brought Zapata in to score on a sacrifice-fly to center field, drawing the Cougars to within one run.
Ruiz drove in his second run of the game on a double to center that brought in Pena for the final run of the game.
Minaya gave up two runs on six hits, walked three and struck out four in four innings. Right-hander Richard Rodriguez was summoned for the fifth and allowed a lone hit in the scoreless frame. Velasquez (5-3) allowed one run on five hits and struck out three in three innings to earn the win. Right-hander John Neely pitched a scoreless ninth to collect his 11th save of the year.
Cougar starter Brian Smith (2-2) had his longest outing of the season, allowing four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in five innings to suffer the loss.
The Cougars were 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and out hit the Bandits 14-9.
Right-handers Mike Hauschild (4-1) and Jordan Jankowski (2-0) of Quad Cities will toe the rubber against right-hander Tayler Scott (4-2) and Kane County on Friday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Hauschild is scheduled to deliver the game's first pitch at 7:00 p.m.