MANKATO, MN Will Sparks drove in three runs and the bullpen had another night of scoreless baseball to pace the Waterloo Bucks to a 5-4 comeback win over the Mankato Moondogs on Wednesday. The win is the Bucks' 17th in their last 21 games and improves the team to a season-best ten games over .500% and 20-10.
The Bucks trailed 4-0 after Mankato scored all of their runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. However, the Bucks began the rally right away in the top of the fifth as Will Sparks led off the inning with a no doubt homer to left field.
The Sparks homer was the Bucks' first hit of the game off Mankato starter Cord Cockrell who had retired the first 12 batters.
The Bucks continued the rally in the sixth as the Bucks loaded the bases with one out and Sparks came through with a two-run single to left field cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Then in the seventh, the Bucks completed the rally when Mikal Hill reached on a one-out error. He would be lifted for Jake Riffice to pinch run and he would score on a Ryan Nagle double to left center. Nagle then moved to third on a Pat MacKenzie single and scored the go ahead run on Jon McAllister's ground out.
The Bucks bullpen made sure the 5-4 lead would hold.
First Greg Kuhlman threw two scoreless relief innings in the fifth and sixth to hold the deficit. Aaron Myers came in for a scoreless seventh inning and also began the eighth before Mankato mounted their best chance to challenge the lead.
The Moondogs got had runners at second and third with one away and the Bucks called to the bullpen to bring in JD Moore to preserve the lead.
Moore would come through in a pressure situation, striking out both Eric Schenk and Spencer O'Neil to end the inning. He'd then throw a clean ninth to end the game.
Of the Bucks' 20 wins on the season, the team has had to rally to win 10 of them.