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Seven-run sixth lifts River Bandits to split
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Seven-run sixth lifts River Bandits to split

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As Christian Cosby was retiring Peoria batter after Peoria batter Sunday, he figured it was only a matter of time.

“Things felt good. I was just waiting for the offense to pick me up like the always do,’’ Cosby said.

That came one-third of an inning too late for the Quad Cities right hander who retired 13 Chiefs in a row to put the River Bandits in a spot to rally for an 8-3 win over Peoria and a split of the six-game High A Central League series.

Quad Cities collected seven of its runs on four hits in the deciding sixth inning, sending 12 batters to the plate and taking advantage of four walks and a hit batter to overcome a 3-1 deficit.

“We had some help but we’ll take it,’’ River Bandits manager Chris Widger said. “We weren’t swinging the bats well early, but we did find ways to get on base. We kept working, which is what you want to see.’’

John Rave drew a bases-loaded walk to score the River Bandits’ first run of the inning before Quad Cities tied the game when Nathan Eaton was struck by a pitch with the bases full.

Another walk allowed Parker Bates to collect the go-ahead RBI before Will Hancock broke open the game with a line-hugging two-run double to right.

A groundout by Mikael Garcia brought home the sixth run of the inning before Tucker Bradley drove a run-scoring single to right to give Quad Cities a five-run lead.

The big inning allowed Mitch Ellis to earn his team-leading eighth win as he combined with Caden Monke to limit the Chiefs to two singles over the final 3.1 innings of work in relief of a solid start by Cosby.

“Cosby really set a tone for us, left one pitch up but had a nice start that gave us a chance,’’ Widger said.

That was what Cosby hoped for, scattering four hits and striking out seven batters over 5.2 walk-free innings of work.

“You get a good pace going and you look up and all of a sudden you’re in the sixth inning,’’ Cosby said of the stretch of 13 consecutive outs recorded between the first and fifth innings. “The guys who followed up just kept it going. With the playoffs coming up, that’s the type of momentum you want.’’

The trio of pitchers limited the Chiefs to six hits, allowing the River Bandits to close out the series with a pair of victories.

“It was good to come back and get the series split,’’ Widger said. “In reality, it’s just a number on paper, but we haven’t lost a series at home so far this season and the guys do take some pride in that.’’

Nick Loftin led Quad Cities (73-39) with three hits, including an infield single in the first inning that scored Garcia and erased an early 1-0 deficit.

Jordan Walker drove in all three of Peoria’s runs with two swings of the bat.

The Cardinals’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft homered twice, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead in the first inning and a 3-1 edge with a two-run blast to center in the top of the sixth inning before the River Bandits rallied.

Walker has homered seven times since joining Peoria on June 28, with six coming off of Quad Cities pitchers during games at Modern Woodmen Park.

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