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River Bandits split road series with league leading Cougars

River Bandits' Holberton hit the cycle with 2 singles, a double, a triple, and a home run in Sunday's game against the Cougars
River Bandits' Holberton hit the cycle with 2 singles, a double, a triple, and a home run in Sunday's game against the CougarsPhoto courtesy of 2014 River Bandits Media Day, used with permission

Offense came alive on the first and last games of the 4-game series against Kane County Cougars. The Quad Cities River Bandits outscored the Cougars 19-10, and outhit them 31-24, but put most of their runs and hits in the 1st game Thursday, winning 7-0, and the 4th game today, 10-3. River Bandits dropped the middle two games, 2-4 on Friday and 0-3 on Saturday.

In Thursdays' victory, River Bandits' clean-up hitter Conrad Gregor led the team with three hits, along with Thomas Lindauer, but it was Lindauer grand-slam home run in the 3rd that made a bigger mark against the Cougars. Gregor was aboard with a single, Brian Holberton was hit by a pitch, and Ronnie Mitchell walked, which provided full bases for Lindauer's homer with two outs.

River Bandits' pitcher Adrian Houser (2-1, 3.94 ERA) started the game and went five strong innings with three hits, no runs, one walk, and three strikeouts. This was Houser's 2nd strong start in a row - the last one coming against Beloit Snappers on May 9 when he went six shutout innings and gave up four hits, two walks, and had seven strikeouts. Kevin Conner and Albert Minnis finished the game in relief to preserve the game for Houser by not surrendering any runs.

Runs or hits did not come easy for the next two games. In game 2, River Bandits' Brett Phillips came across the plate with a Jack Mayfield's sacrifice fly in the 4th inning. Phillips reached on a bunt single and Chan Moon sent him to third on a single. The second run came in the 7th inning when Gregor tripled and then scored on Holberton's single.

Starter Chris Lee (1-2, 2.65 ERA) didn't pitch a bad game, going six innings and surrendering four hits and three runs and one walk, and did strikeout eight Cougars. Only one of the runs was earned. It was Lee's fifth start this season as a River Bandit.

Cougars' pitchers shutdown the River Bandits in the 3rd game, allowing only two base runners on walks given up by Cougars' starter Tyler Skulina. Moon and Gregor were awarded walks in the 4th inning, but the River Bandits' bats remained silent for one night.

Andrew Thurman (2-3, 4.59 ERA) struggled in 4 1/3 innings of work. He gave up three runs off three hits and walked three. He did manage four strikeouts, but needed relief help from Patrick Christensen and Frederick Tiburcio. Christensen gave up two hits and Tiburcio gave up no hits, while both didn't allow any more Cougars to score. Christenen recorded one strikeout, while Tiburcio struck out four.

The 17 hits that the River Bandits produced in the 4th game was a good step towards forgetting about being no-hit the day before. Eight of the nine batters contributed to the hit total. Designated hitter Holberton was a perfect five hits in all his five at bats, including hitting for the cycle, which means hitting a single (two of them), double, triple, and a home run.

Pitching crew for the River Bandits included starter Jandel Gustave (3-2, 4.40 ERA), Michael Feliz, and Minnis. Gustave gave up three hits and one run, Feliz gave up four hits and two runs, and Minnis finished with no hits and no runs. Despite giving up a homer in the 7th inning, Feliz did strikeout two Cougars in his 3 1/3 innings.

The River Bandits return home to Modern Woodmen Park for a 3-game series with Burlington Bees starting on Monday, May 19, and Cedar Rapids Kernels on Thursday, May 22. Modern Woodmen Park will also introduce the fans to the lighting of their new Ferris Wheel attraction. Should be a fun time for everyone. Go River Bandits!