Bucks end skid with early runs against Rochester
Seven runs in the first two innings aided Waterloo in halting a four-game losing streak.
By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks
WATERLOO, Iowa – With one out and the tying run aboard in the top of the ninth, Bucks’ closer Matthew James (Illinois) utilized the unwavering Waterloo crowd to end the team’s four-game losing skid and secure a late-inning victory. The reliever battled the nerves and earned the save with back-to-back strikeouts against two consecutive pinch-hitters as the Waterloo Bucks (29-28/11-10) outlasted the Rochester Honkers (30-27/10-13), 8-6, Saturday night at Riverfront Stadium.
Waterloo opened the game with an aggressive five-run bottom of the first and added on a pair in the second to tally their second win of the season in the SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup against the Honkers. Brian Polowy (1-1) (North Central) earned the win on the mound in his first start, posting five innings of one-run baseball that featured four hits, two walks and five punchouts.
Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) sent the Bucks up as the lead-off man in the bottom of the first by going yard to right field for his team-best fourth home run of the season. Then, the Bucks struck four more times with one down to take a 5-0 lead. Taylor Lane (Florida) sent in Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) with a sacrifice fly to right that was followed by a Matthew James run-scoring double down the right field line.
Still in the first, University of Iowa commit Daniel Perry launched an RBI-single to the alley in left-center that brought James across the plate. Zach Soria (Florida International) scored on the same play when the base-hit was fielded as an error in center field by the Rochester defense. After sending its entire order to the plate in the first, Waterloo took a five-run advantage early in the ballgame.
Wasting no time, Seleksy stampeded across for another run in the bottom of the second after a wild pitch from Honkers’ starter Matt Walker (UCLA). Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) raced across in the same at-bat when Lane sent a ground out to shortstop for the 7-0 lead.
The Honkers rallied for a run in the top of third after a walk and two singles on two outs to send in Miles Mastrobuoni (College of San Mateo) for the 7-1 score midway through the frame.
Soria quickly snatched the run back by singling in Lane in the bottom of the fifth. Then, Nathan Spielvogel (Merrimack) entered out of relief for the Bucks to open the sixth with the Bucks in front, 8-1. The right-handed reliever worked a two-run, three-hit top of the sixth before retiring the first man he faced in seventh.
With a five-run lead, Doug Hayes (Illinois) toed the rubber with one out in the seventh, and he, too, would get into trouble after surrendering two runs on three straight singles from the Honkers in relief. The southpaw worked a scoreless eighth to keep Waterloo in the lead, 8-5, heading to the ninth.
James took the ball in the top of the final inning and was aided by Perry’s leaping catch at shortstop for out number one. Then, a Mastrobuoni single followed by a Matt Fiedler (Minnesota) double cut the deficit to two runs. After allowing the tying runner aboard with a base on balls, James dug deep for back-to-back strikeouts to preserve the 8-6 victory at home.
The Bucks travel to Rochester Sunday for the completion of the two-game traveling series at 1:05 p.m. Then, Waterloo returns for a two-game home stand against the Eau Claire Express on Monday and Tuesday with both contests scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.
Monday marks another Buck Monday where fans can get regular hot dogs for just $1.50, plus 10 oz. draft beer, 12 oz. sodas, small popcorn, and ice cream sandwiches are just $1 each! Sponsored by K98.5.
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.