The Bucks compiled 14 hits en route to their third straight win over Alexandria.
By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks
WATERLOO, Iowa – The Waterloo Bucks (23-22/5-4) utilized scattered scoring innings to hold off the Alexandria Blue Anchors (17-27/5-4), 10-6, Thursday night at Riverfront Stadium. From flashing defense, to powerful offense, to resilient relief pitching, the victory marked a complete team effort for the Bucks.
Doug Hayes (2-2) (Illinois) continued his bullpen dominance by earning the win, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless frames in relief of starter Frank Rubio (Florida). In his first start in front of the home crowd, Chris Kelly (DMACC) paced the Waterloo lineup with two RBIs, two runs scored and two base-hits. The win gave the Bucks their eighth victory out of the last nine played in Riverfront while it also marked the first time the team’s overall record had been above .500 since June 27.
Waterloo wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, plating four runs off Alexandria starter Josh Baumgart (Creighton) in the opening inning. Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) drove in Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) for the first run with a groundball to second base. Ryan Nagle (Illinois) singled in Kelly in the next at-bat to continue his hot streak of hitting at the plate and make it a 2-0 lead.
Still in the first, Nagle scored from third base on a double steal pickoff attempt that was tossed into centerfield as an error for the Anchors catcher. Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) plated Zach Soria (Florida International) after the errant play to send the Bucks in front by four runs.
Nehwon Norkeh (Angelo St.) quickly answered for the Blue Anchors in the top of the second with a one-out two-run homerun over the wall in left.
Leading, 4-1, in the bottom of the second, Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) doubled off the wall in center to open the frame. After a Selesky ground ball moved him to third, Hill came through to score off Kelly’s shallow sacrifice fly to left field.
Josh Merrigan (North Carolina) doubled to lead off the Alexandria third, and later scored on a Norkeh two-out double to make it a 5-2 game. Again, Waterloo responded after the score in the bottom of the frame when Matthew James (Illinois) singled in Soria with a two outs.
Alexandria plated a quick run in the fourth before Rubio exited with one out in the frame. Waterloo’s starter allowed five runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings with two walks and a strikeout in the no-decision stint.
Doug Hayes (2-2), then, toed the rubber with one out and runners on, and gave up the fifth Blue Anchors run on a Merrigan RBI-single. Hayes took the win out of the bullpen over 4 2/3 shutout frames where he allowed four hits, walk one and struck out four.
Chris Kelly, the only Iowa native on the squad, struck again for the Bucks in the bottom of the sixth with a run-scoring single that sent James to the plate. With two outs in the frame, Kelly scored on a first and third double steal to push the mark to 8-6.
Waterloo added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth when Nagle punched a single to bring in Selesky. Zach McKinstry scored during the next at-bat when Nagle avoided being tagged out in a double steal rundown. The aggressive base running by the Bucks pushed the game to its final score, 10-5.
Mitchel Babb (Ole Miss) entered out of the pen in the top of the ninth and closed the gates against the Blue Anchors. Josh Merrigan opened the frame with a triple off the centerfield wall, and later scored Alexandria’s final run on Kyle Richardson’s (Notre Dame) single to the outfield.
Waterloo continues the home stand Friday with a 7:05 p.m. (CT) battle against Alexandria. Friday marks the Team Photo Giveaway, presented by Great Clips, where the first 500 fans through the gate receive a free 2015 Bucks Team Photo.
It’s also another Flat Screen Friday where fans 18 years or older can register to win one of three free 32” flat screen TVs.
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.