August 30, 2007 - Midwest League (MWL) - Quad Cities River Bandits
The Swing of the Quad Cities dropped another tightly contested affair late in the ballgame on Thursday night, allowing two runs in the top of the ninth during a 3-1 loss to the Peoria Chiefs at John O\'Donnell Stadium.
Quad Cities (40-25, 78-56) missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth for the second consecutive night, but can still secure their spot in the post-season by winning one of their remaining five games. After the Swing tied the contest with a big run in the bottom of the seventh, Peoria (37-29, 68-67) rattled off four consecutive one-out hits in the top of the ninth to earn the victory.
In a 1-1 ballgame in the final frame, Marquez Smith and Blake Lalli got the first two knocks to chase reliever Matt Spade from the game in favor of closer Kenny Maiques. Russ Canzler greeted Maiques by ripping his first pitch into left-field for a run-scoring single that broke the tie. With the runners in motion Ty Wright followed with an infield single that bounced deep into the hole at shortstop, and as Oliver Marmol slid to the grass to grab the ball, Lalli rounded third to cross the plate for a 3-1 lead.
Alex Maestri (6-3) made the lead stand up, tossing a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to finish off two perfect innings of work that included four strikeouts. For the second consecutive night the Swing loss went to Spade (0-2), who has made just two appearances with the club since arriving in the Quad Cities on Wednesday morning.
Early on, the story of the game was a pitcher\'s duel between a pair of 2007 draft picks.
Clayton Mortensen twirled five scoreless innings for the Swing, allowing just one hit and three baserunners. A supplemental first-round pick (36th overall) in the June draft, the 22-year-old right-hander out of Gonzaga University struck out four and issued one walk to lower his ERA to 2.41 while improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 44-8.
Meanwhile, Chiefs\' starter James Russell used a filthy changeup to navigate his way through four shutout frames. The southpaw, who was a 14th-round pick by the Chicago Cubs out of the University of Texas, overcame three hits and three walks in part thanks to five punchouts.
Peoria cracked the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, sparked by Darwin Barney\'s hard-hit grounder down the first base line that snuck past Christian Reyes for a double. One batter later, Jim Adduci delivered a bouncing ball single up the middle that brought Barney around to score for a 1-0 lead.
But the Swing fought back in the bottom of the seventh, as Christian Lopez drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. Jose Garcia bunted the runner to third with just one out, but with the infield in Marmol\'s screaming liner was snared out of the air on a diving snag by Lalli at first base. Moments later, though, Jose Ramirez came to the rescue with one of his three hits, a clutch two-out single to right that plated Lopez to tie the score at one run apiece.
TICKETS: Tickets for all events at John O\'Donnell Stadium can be purchased by calling the Swing of the Quad Cities ticket office at (563) 328-2000, coming to the box office located at the stadium along South Gaines Street, or by logging on to www.swingbaseball.com.
UP NEXT: The Swing hit the home stretch of the regular season, as just one home game remains on Friday before a potential first-round playoff game next Wednesday! All Swing games feature a radio broadcast that can be heard on WKBF AM-1270 or online at www.swingbaseball.com, with the pre-game show starting 15 minutes prior to scheduled first pitch.
UPCOMING PROMOTIONS: The Swing close out their regular-season home schedule against Ryne Sandberg and the Peoria Chiefs with Fan Appreciation Night on Friday. During the contest, the Swing will wear throwback St. Louis Browns jerseys that will be auctioned off by Genesis Health Systems, while post-game FIREWORKS will finish out the evening!!!