Bucks Win Fifth Straight, 10-8
EAU CLAIRE, WI The Waterloo Bucks rallied from an early hole and held on late for a 10-8 victory at the Eau Claire Express before 1,212 guests at Carson Park on Wednesday night. Its the Bucks fifth consecutive win, matching a season high, and pushes the team's record to a season-best five games over .500%.
Waterloo took full advantage of five Eau Claire errors to erase a three-run deficit after the first inning while Adam Dian shut down a surging Express offense in the later innings to preserve the win.
Will Sparks had two hits, including a double, and drove in two runs. Pat MacKenzie and John Sternagel also had two hits each while starting pitcher Drasen Johnson recovered from a rough first inning to notch the win.
The Bucks were at a disadvantage early as a mechanical malfunction with the team bus prevented the team from arriving until roughly 40 minutes before the first pitch. The late arrival showed in the first inning as Johnson walked two batters, hit another and all three scored to give Eau Claire a 3-0 lead.
Waterloo answered back in the second inning as Sparks laced a two-out double to right center and then scored when Ryan Nagle's grounder to short was misplayed for the first of the Eau Claire errors.
The Bucks then turned the game around in the third by sending the entire order up to bat. MacKenzie doubled and scored when Jon McAllister's sacrifice bunt was thrown away. McAllister would later score on an infield ground out by AJ Puk and that evened the score 3-3.
Waterloo grabbed the lead later in the inning when a Connor McClain grounder to first was misplayed to make it 4-3. A Sparks' two-run single to left extended the lead to 6-3.
Another infield error by the Express in the fourth allowed the Bucks to take a 7-3 lead.
After Eau Claire scratched out a run in the fourth to make the score 7-4, the Bucks built the lead back in the fifth. A RBI single by Nagle and also a wild pitch with a runner at third gave the Bucks two-runs and they were up 9-4.
That lead held until the bottom of the seventh when the Express tagged the Bucks' bullpen for three runs and the lead was down to 9-7.
The Bucks got a run back in the eighth and it was 10-7, but the Express grabbed a run in the bottom of the eighth and it was 10-8.
However, closer Adam Dian struck out the first two batters and Sparks made a diving catch in center for the final out in the ninth to seal the win.