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Soria lifts Bucks over MoonDogs in Waterloo debut

In his first start of 2015, Zach Soria (Florida International) tallied the game-winning hit for the Bucks in the 10th inning for a 3-2 walk-off thriller over Mankato.  

Box Score

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

WATERLOO, Iowa – In storybook fashion, the Waterloo Bucks (13-8) came back from a two-run deficit to walk-off over the Mankato MoonDogs (9-11), 3-2, in the 10th inning Monday night at Riverfront Stadium. The hero in his first start of the year – Zach Soria (Florida International). With two outs and the bases-loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Soria, a 2014 player for Waterloo, lifted a ball into shallow right field over a leaping Jack Flansburg (Cypress CC) at second base to bring in Mark Hernandez (Long Island) for the game-winning single.

The run was the first of the year allowed by Mankato reliever Samuel Myers (Central Arizona). Brent Jurceka (2-1) (Evansville) picked up the win for Waterloo out of the bullpen after escaping a bases-loaded sixth and tossing 4 2/3 scoreless innings on the mound. The win marked the third time this season the Bucks have defeated the MoonDogs off scores in their final offensive inning.

Strong starting pitching themed the opening inning of the ballgame. Mankato got on the board early in the top of the first, 1-0, when Flansburg came in on a run-scoring single from Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon).

Hunter Mercado-Hood (San Diego) added another MoonDog score when he doubled and crossed the plate in the sixth. After Waterloo starter Brian Drapeau (Long Island) left the game with the bases loaded in the inning, Jurceka walked in Mercado-Hood on a free pass to Kyle Weston (James Madison) for the 2-0 deficit.

Drapeau took the no-decision start for Waterloo after allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits along with six strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter on the night.

Jurceka (2-1) entered with the bases-loaded in the sixth and got out of a bases-loaded jam when Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) turned a 5-3 double play on the defensive end. The reliever took the win out of the bullpen over 4 2/3 shutout innings on the mound, allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out five.

The Bucks broke through for two runs on two outs and four consecutive hits to tie the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the sixth. Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) and Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) opened the rally with back-to-back singles. The pair would score later in the frame off Soria and Adam McGinnis (Western Illinois) run-scoring base-hits.

Soria provided the game-winning knock in the bottom of the tenth with a bases-loaded, two-out single into right field. After three walks, one being intentional, in the inning, Soria drove in Hernandez to claim the series-opener over the MoonDogs.

Waterloo closes the two-game home stand Tuesday with the MoonDogs at 7:05 p.m. CT from Riverfront Stadium. Follow the Bucks on Facebook or their email newsletter for a buy one ticket get one FREE offer for Tuesday home games. One lucky fan will win a pair of Minnesota Twins tickets given away at every Tuesday home game.

Tickets are available at waterloobucks.com. You can also visit the Bucks Ticket Office at Riverfront Stadium or call 319-232-5633.

Bucks games are broadcast live on waterloobucks.com.

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The Waterloo Bucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website.  For more information, visit www.waterloobucks.com.