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Hayes’ stout start sends Bucks over Eau Claire

Doug Hayes (Illinois) was brilliant over 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball as the Waterloo offense scattered 10 hits in a 6-1 win over the Express.

Box Score

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – Together with the strong start of Doug Hayes (1-1) (Illinois), the Waterloo Bucks (17-13) evened the series with the Eau Claire Express (12-17) in a 6-1 decision at Carson Park Wednesday night. Waterloo’s offense plated five runs on two outs as the defense collected two double plays to balance the Bucks’ attack in the win.

Taylor Lane (Florida) smashed a two-run homerun, his second of the year, while Weston Hatten (Washington St.) and Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) both tallied two hits and two runs to take down the Express. Sean Trimble (Long Beach St.) was dominant out of the bullpen, allowing three hits and a run to close out the ball game.

Stratman put the Bucks in front in the first after scoring from third base on an errant pickoff throw. Stratman led off the inning with Waterloo’s first hit, and scored to make it 1-0, midway through the first inning.

The Bucks made it a 2-0 score in the second when Weston Hatten (Washington St.) came in on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s). Boyd beat out the ground ball at first base after the Express defense tried to turn a double play, allowing Hatten to come across home plate.

After Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) recorded a two-out bunt-single in the third, Lane sent his first pitch in the next at-bat over the left field wall. The no-doubt long ball extended Waterloo’s advantage, 4-0.

Hayes (1-1) exited with one out in the sixth after facing his first string of Express hits. The southpaw surrendered one run on four hits along with a walk and a strikeout to pick up the win in his first start of the season.

Trimble came to the hill with runners on the corners in the sixth-inning jam and struck out the first two men he faced to end the threat. The reliever closed out the rest of the game, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and two punchouts.

Eau Claire sent their first run across with an RBI-single from Sam Hurt (MATC) in the sixth. The run-scoring hit to right-field made it a 4-1 game heading to the seventh.

The Bucks sent across two insurance runs on two outs in the top of the ninth to extend their lead, 6-1. Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) belted in Stratman and Hatten with a single to right field to notch the final scoring play for Waterloo.

Trimble surrendered a run-scoring single to Nathan Krause (Winona St.) with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but ended the home team’s rally thereafter, 6-2.

Waterloo will continue the road trip by opening a two-game series in Willmar at 7:05 p.m. (CT) Thursday. Then, the Bucks travel to Thunder Bay for a two-game series with the Border Cats before returning to Waterloo for an off-day on June 29.

The Bucks finish the seven-game stand with a traveling-doubleheader with the Rochester Honkers on June 30. Following game one of the day at 12:05 p.m. at Mayo Field, the two teams will drive to Riverfront Stadium to conclude the twin bill at 7:05 p.m. The two gameswith Rochester marks the first two contests in the SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup.

During the nightcap on June 30, the Bucks will have the Bill’s Pizza & Smokehouse Baseball Card Set Giveaway. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a Bucks Baseball Team Card Set, presented by Bill’s Pizza & Smokehouse.

It will also be a Two For Tuesday promotion! 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.