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Bucks Rally for 3-2 win in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI  The Waterloo Bucks were economical when it came to hitting with runners in scoring position but when they did deliver they were daggers on Saturday night.

David Kerian lofted a two-out RBI double into the left field corner in the top of the ninth inning to lift the Bucks to a 3-2 victory over the Kalamazoo Growlers before 2,679 at Homer Stryker Field. Waterloo had trailed 2-0 just three batters into the bottom of the first but starting pitcher Aaron Myers settled down to throw seven innings striking out three and not allowing another run.

The Bucks finished the game with only six hits but behind the pitching of Myers, stayed in the game and were able to rally. In the fifth the Bucks grabbed a run back as Luke Stratman led off with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt moved him to second base and a fly out set up the second out, Pat MacKenzie came up to bat. MacKenzie hit a bouncer to the right side that glanced off the glove of the second base and rolled just far enough into right to allow Stratman to come around and score.

For MacKenzie, that hit is part of  12 consecutive at bat on-base streak.

Still, the Bucks were down 2-1 until the eighth inning when Kevin Kaczmarski was hit by a pitch to start off. A sac bun moved him to second but after a ground out he remained there. Connor McClain then drove a single to center and Kaczmarski would beat the throw to the plate to tie the game.

Kalamazoo looked poise to reclaim the lead in the home half of the eighth when Troy Montgomery singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Reliever Matt Behounek recovered to get back to back lineouts to left field. After Behounek walked the next batter, J.D. Moore induced a ground out to second base to end the threat.

In the top of the ninth, Stratman led off with a ground ball that went through the legs of the short stop. He advanced to second base when Jake Riffice was able to lay down a sacrifice bunt despite having two strikes against him. Stratman advanced to third after Jon McAllister was thrown out on a drag bunt attempt.

With two outs, Kaczmarski walked bringing up Kerian who put the Bucks ahead with his double that stayed fair in the left field corner.

The Bucks still had to maneuver through a rough bottom of the ninth. J.D. Moore allowed a lead off single to Nick Yarnell and then Jalen Phillips bunt stayed on the third base line for a hit and Kalamazoo had two on with none out. Waterloo caught a break when Austin Cangelosi popped up his bunt attempt.

With one out, John Rubino came up and hit a scorching ground ball to Riffice at second base who was able to knock the ball down after a bad hop and get the out at first. The runners advanced so Kalamazoo had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with two outs bringing up Montgomery whom Moore would end the game against getting him to look at a called third strike.

The Bucks have now won three in a row for their first true winning streak of the season and are back at .500 and 6-6.