Bucks Bats Explode in 12-8 Win

MANKATO, MN  The Waterloo Bucks were looking for a breakout night offensively and achieved it in a big way with 12-8 win over the Mankato Moondogs on Thursday night. Jon McAllister and Connor McClain each had four hits and Jack Riffice had three hits to pace the Bucks who finished with a season-high 16 as a team.

On the mound, starter Mario Leon and reliever Brent Jurceka combined for 15 strikeouts as the two earned the win and save respectively.

The Bucks never trailed in the game, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on McClain's two-run double to right center. After Mankato scratched a run back in the second, Waterloo built the lead back up in the fourth inning on a McAllister RBI triple.

Then in the fifth, the Bucks seemingly put the game away, scoring five runs highlighted by RBI singles from McAllister, Riffice and Zach Soria to take an 8-1 lead.

However, any game at Franklin Rogers Park tends to be close as the ball has traditionally carried well making all leads stand on shaky ground and that held true on this night. In the bottom of the fifth, Mankato loaded the bases and with two outs, Levi Scott hit a high drive over the left field fence to bring the Moondogs to within 8-5.

The grand slam spoiled, but didn't ruin, what was another great start for Leon who ended the game allowing six runs over six innings but had eight strikeouts.

Mankato kept the comeback going in the bottom of the sixth. Leon was replaced by Jurceka during the first batter of the inning and that batter ended up reaching on a single. David Petrino then sent a high flyball to the left field wall that McClain leptand grabbed, robbing a potential home run.

The Moondogs would still get those runs those, as Brett Murray drove in a run with a double and Justin Fletcher followed with a triple and it was 8-7 Waterloo. Jurceka settled down though to strikeout Tyler Sullivan and keep the Bucks in front.

The Bucks picked up an insurance run in the seventh on a McAllister RBI infield single. Then in the eighth, Patrick Fiala had a RBI double and Luke Stratman drove in a pair with a two-out single that took a groundskeeper hop over the second basemen's head to make the score 12-7.

Mankato grabbed a run in the bottom of the eight to pull to 12-8 but that was it for the scoring.

Along with his four hits, McAllister had three RBI. McClain and Stratman both had two RBI in the win.