The Quad Cities River Bandits' run of success at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark ended with a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Kane County Cougars, who rode a 5-for-6, two-homer performance from Rock Shoulders to 7-3 and 4-3 seven-inning home victories Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars (6-8) grabbed momentum early in Game 1, as they scored five runs in 2 1/3 innings against left-handed starter Brian Holmes (0-1). Shoulders led off the second inning with a double, advanced to third on an infield single by second baseman Wes Darvill, and scored on the first of two sacrifice flies by center fielder Trey Martin.
Kane County had four straight hits against Holmes to start the third, and he was removed with one out and a 4-0 deficit. Right-hander Cameron Lamb allowed Martin's second sacrifice fly, closing the book on Holmes with eight hits, five earned runs, one walk and two strikeouts. Opposite him, right-hander Pierce Johnson (1-0) lasted five innings, allowing three hits and an unearned run while striking out six to defeat the team that beat him on Opening Day.
Down 5-0, Quad Cities (9-5) scored a run on right fielder Ariel Ovando's fourth-inning RBI single, but the Cougars added runs in the fourth and sixth, when Shoulders took right-hander Gerardo Sanchez deep to right field for a 7-1 lead. River Bandits center fielder Teoscar Hernandez's seventh-inning two-run double closed the scoring in a 7-3 final.
In Game 2, Shoulders put the Cougars up 1-0 with a first-inning RBI single against right-hander Jordan Jankowski. After Quad Cities' two-run top of the fourth, Shoulders tied the game with a homer off Jankowski to right leading off the bottom half. Jankowski allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and no strikeouts in three-plus innings. Left-hander Mitchell Lambson (0-1) escaped the fourth inning with a 2-2 tie, but he gave up a go-ahead single by Shoulders in the fifth.
River Bandits first baseman Jesse Wierzbicki hit his second RBI single to tie the game in the sixth inning. But the next half-inning, Cougars shortstop Marco Hernandez hit a go-ahead triple over the head of left fielder Jordan Scott. With a 4-3 lead, left-hander Jeff Antigua worked a scoreless seventh to save a win for right-hander Tayler Scott, who worked six innings, allowed five hits, three runs and a walk while striking out four.
After their first series loss, the River Bandits head to Wisconsin for a three-game set beginning at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. The doubleheader sweep and a win by Cedar Rapids dropped Quad Cities one-half game out of first place in the Midwest League Western Division.