Bucks fall short in series split

Waterloo plated four runs in the final three innings, but their late rally wasn’t enough to overcome a 9-5 decision against Mankato.


By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

WATERLOO, Iowa – Allowing six runs throughout the final three frames, the Waterloo Bucks (13-9) fell to the Mankato MoonDogs (10-11), 9-5, to split a two-game series Tuesday night at Riverfront Stadium. The Bucks’ bullpen struggled late during the contest as the offense left 10 runners on base in the losing effort. Mark Hernandez (Long Island) got out of a hitting slump in the game, scoring two runs, tallying a single and crushing his second homerun of the season. Jordan Desguin (0-1) (Florida Gulf Coast) was a bright spot on the mound in his Northwoods League debut after surrendering three runs, two earned, on just three hits over six innings in the start.

As they did in game one of the series, Mankato plated the first run with a score in the second inning. Kyle Weston (James Madison) made it a 1-0 contest after coming in on a two-out RBI double from Joey Rodriguez (Wake Forest).

The MoonDogs wasted no time to plate another, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Sulliam Rios-Reyes (Kirkwood CC) reached on a one-out error into left field to open the frame and came in for the unearned run on a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

Waterloo broke through the scoring column in the bottom of the fourth to cut into the lead, 2-1. Hernandez opened the inning with a leadoff walk and scored on a Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) double off the right field wall. Zach Soria (Florida International) provided one of his two hits on the night in the at-bat before the RBI, a double to the alley in left-center, but the Bucks failed to bring in two runners in scoring position with no outs soon after.

Hunter Mercado-Hood provided more support for the MoonDogs in the sixth when he plated Weston with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The single run made it a 3-1 Mankato lead heading to the bottom of the sixth.

Desguin (0-1) ended his first start following six innings of three run ball on the night. The Waterloo starter allowed three hits, walked a trio and struck out four while taking the loss on the mound.

Mankato exploded for four runs in the top of the seventh on three hits to take a 7-1 advantage. Paul Panaccione (Grand Canyon) provided a two-run homerun in the frame for the MoonDogs.

Landon Busch (South Dakota St.) toed the rubber to open the seventh and quickly exited yielding three runs on two hits while recording one out in relief.

Joe Martinson (Minnesota) took the mound with one out and a man on base in the seventh, and escaped the late-inning jam after allowing the two-run round-tripper to Panaccione. Martinson tossed 1 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, surrendering one run on two hits and a walk in his fourth outing of the year.

The Bucks retaliated with two runs in the bottom of the seventh when Matthew Stemper (Minnesota) scored on a wild pitch and his collegiate teammate Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) came across on a Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) run-scoring single.

Matthew James (Illinois) made it a 7-4 game in the eighth when he scored for Waterloo on a Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) groundball to shortstop that was fielded for an error. The miscue at shortstop was one of three errors in the frame for the Mankato defense.

Derringer Huff (South Dakota St.) stepped to the mound in the top of the ninth and surrendered two more runs to the MoonDogs’ offense. Rios-Reyes and Panaccione scored in the inning to bump Mankato ahead, 9-4. Huff allowed the two runs on one hit and a walk in his lone frame for Waterloo out of the pen.

Hernandez gave Waterloo its last jolt when he smashed a one-out solo shot over the wall in right field in the ninth. The homer marked the second of the year for Hernandez and put the final run on the board, 9-5.

Waterloo travels to Mankato for a two-game series starting Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. CT. The Bucks return to Riverfront Stadium Friday to open a four-game home stand with a pair of games against both St. Cloud and Kalamazoo. Friday marks the Bark in the Ballpark promotion! Bring your pooch to the park! Dogs & their owners may purchase tickets at the gate for $10 with $5 of each sale being donated to the Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo. Dogs & their owners are invited to participate in the Parade of Dogs around the warning track 30 minutes before the game! 

The game is also a Flat Screen Friday where fans ages 18 and older can register to win one of three 32" flat screen TVs that will be given away each Friday home game.

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

Bucks games are broadcast live on

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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