MANKATO, MN The Waterloo Bucks banged out 10 hits, but came up short in a few critical situations in a 4-2 loss at the Mankato Moondogs on Friday night. Jon McAllister, Kevin Kaczmarski and AJ Puk each had two hits, while TJ Peterson threw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief in the loss.
The Bucks hit the first quarter mark of the season an even 9-9 with a split of the two-game series in Mankato.
Waterloo had at least one base runner in all but the ninth inning but stranded runners in scoring position four times. Still, the team stayed in the game thanks largely to starting pitcher Aaron Myers who went the first five innings and limited the Mankato bats.
In the fifth, Mankato broke the scoreless tie as the Bucks blinked. Craig Lepre was hit by a pitch and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Eric Schenk was followed by Tyler Sullivan's RBI single that was just over the leap of first basemen AJ Puk. An erratic pickoff throw allowed another run to score and a wild pitch would make it 3-0.
The Bucks came back in the top of the sixth when Puk's RBI double to the right field corner scored Luke Stratman and Kaczmarski to cut the margin to 3-2. However, the Bucks would fail to get the tying run home.
Mankato iced the game with a run in the bottom of the eighth. With one out and a runner at first, an infield error prolonged the inning and a walked loaded the bases. A wild pitch then allowed the fourth run to score and extend the lead to 4-2.