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Published On: June 17th, 2013

Landon Simpson and Jake Riffice starred for the Waterloo Bucks in their starting debuts on Monday night.  Simpson, who played for Arkansas this season, pitched seven strong innings, allowed two runs off four hits, and struck out seven MoonDog batters.

Riffice was 3-3 on the night with three singles, a walk, and one run batted in.

Mankato was the first to score in the second inning when Josh Fuentes hit a sacrifice fly that scored Zach Zehner for the 1-0 lead.

David Kerian was the first Buck to reach base in the bottom of the second inning, he then moved into scoring position when he stole second base during a Jake Mahon at bat. Kerian then scored off a John Ziznewski single to right field that evened the score at one run.

The MoonDogs retook the lead in the fourth inning when Josh Fuentes hit a single that scored Zach Zehnes for his second run of the game, to retake the lead at 2-1.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Blake Hickman reached base by getting hit by a pitch. Jake Riffice then hit his second single of the game to advance Hickman to second base. The next batter, Marcos Calderon, hit his eighth double of the season when he hit a deep fly ball that hit the center field wall and scored Hickman and Riffice.  The two runs gave the Bucks their first lead of the game, 3-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, Jake Mahon advanced to first on a single and was then advanced to second base when Kevin Needham was hit by a pitch. Blake Hickman extended the inning by drawing a walk to load the bases for Waterloo. Riffice continued his huge night by hitting his third single of the game that scored Mahon. The run extended the Buck lead to 4-2.

J.D. Moore entered the game in the eight inning and received great support from his defense.  With a runner on first base, Riffice made the best defensive play of the game when he robbed Quinnton Mack of a single behind second base and made an incredible flip to Pat Mackenzie who threw to first for the double play. Moore would strike out the next batter for Mankato to get out of the 8th inning with the 4-2 lead in tact.

Adam Dian entered in the ninth inning and earned his fourth save of the season, striking out two of the four batters he faced.

The win improves the Bucks record to 12-7 and one game behind the Willmar Stingers for first place in the North Division. Next up, the Bucks look to end their four game losing streak against the Duluth Huskies tomorrow, June, 18th.  The first pitch of that game will be at 6:35 p.m.