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River Bandits Hit 3 Homers In Win Over Cougars

For the first time this season, three Quad Cities River Bandits homered in the same game, as catcher Roberto Pena, second baseman Brian Blasik and third baseman Rio Ruiz each went deep among the visitors' 13 hits in a 12-5 victory over the Kane County Cougars at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Sunday afternoon.

Quad Cities (12-5 second half, 50-36 overall) had its highest run total since a season-high 17 runs against Great Lakes on April 30 and won for the 13th time in 17 meetings with Kane County (4-13, 34-49). Left-hander Colton Cain (4-5) allowed a first-inning run but retired 13 of 14 batters in one stretch and posted a season-high six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings for his first second-half win.

Pena tied the game in the second inning on a one-out home run to the picnic deck in left field off right-hander Tayler Scott (4-4). The home run was Pena's fourth of the season and second against the Cougars. He is 20-for-49 (.408) in 12 games against Kane County.

Quad Cities took the lead in the third inning, as left fielder Dan Gulbransen and designated hitter Jesse Wierzbicki hit back-to-back RBI doubles for a 3-1 lead. Meanwhile, Cain held the Cougars off the board through the fifth inning, retiring 13 of 14 batters in one stretch and posting a season-high six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He was charged with four runs, two earned, on five hits and three walks.

In the sixth inning, Ruiz hit a one-out single, and shortstop Austin Elkins drew a two-out walk to chase Scott. Right-hander Armando Rivero entered and walked first baseman Jobduan Morales to load the bases for Blasik, who hit his second home run - and second grand slam - of the season on a line drive over the left-field fence, extending the Quad Cities lead to 7-1.

The Cougars tallied three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, with third baseman Jeimer Candelario hitting an RBI double, and two more runs scoring when center fielder Jordan Scott threw a ball into the third-base stands after catching a fly ball. Kane County closed within 7-5 in the seventh inning, as right-hander Gera Sanchez yielded a sacrifice fly to Cougars first baseman Dan Vogelbach. Left-hander Mitchell Lambson got the final out of the inning and worked 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

Ruiz leading off the eighth inning and added an RBI double in the ninth inning to finish a triple shy of the cycle. Wierzbicki added a two-run double in the ninth inning. With a 12-5 lead, right-hander Chia-Jen Lo retired all three hitters he faced.

Sunday's victory lifted Quad Cities to match its season high of 14 games over .500.  Quad Cities will face Kane County in the deciding game of the five-game series at noon Monday, when River Bandits right-hander Lance McCullers (4-4) faces Cougars left-hander Michael Heesch (3-7).

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