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Bucks swept in rivalry double header

Waterloo was dealt two monumental blows from the Honkers as the race for the post-season winds down.

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

WATERLOO, Iowa – The Waterloo Bucks (29-33/11-15) fell for the fifth consecutive time in four days after being swept 12-1 and 7-2 against the Rochester Honkers (34-28/14-14) Wednesday in a traveling home-away doubleheader. With just a Mikal Hill (Winston Salem St.) solo home run to show for in game one, the Honkers raced past the Bucks with an 11-run victory at Riverfront Stadium. The nightcap saw just three Waterloo hits compiled as Rochester utilized two unearned runs and a two-run long ball from Mark Contreras (UC Riverside) to take a 4-2 lead in the SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup at Mayo Field.

The Bucks offense sputtered behind losing starts from debut-starter Eric Brown (0-1) (Gettysburg) in game one and Frank Rubio (1-3) (Florida) in game two. With the losses, the Bucks are now a difficult five games back of fourth-place Rochester in the overall standings with just 10 games remaining in 2015.

Game One

Box Score Game 1

The Honkers attacked Waterloo for nine runs in the middle innings en route to a 12-1 victroy at Riverfront Stadium. Using three positional players on the mound, the Bucks simply could not produce runs in their second straight 11-run defeat.

Mikal Hill paced the offense with three hits, including his second long ball of the year, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Matt Walker (UCLA) dominated Waterloo hitting after giving up just one run over eight innings in the start.

In his Northwoods League debut, left-hander Eric Brown ran into trouble in a three-run second frame. Working long counts in his only two innings of work, Brown surpassed 35 pitches in the second and was unable to return in the ball game. The Bucks, then, turned to Doug Hayes (Illinois) out of the bullpen because of the league rule requiring a new pitcher to come into a game if one hurler throws 35 or more pitches in one full inning of work.

Trailing 3-0, Hayes was a bright spot for Waterloo on the mound as he struck out four while working through the fifth inning. Rochester tallied a run and two hits off the reliever in three innings of work to make it a 4-0 score heading to the bottom of the fifth.

Position player Daniel Perry (Iowa) took the ball to open the sixth and was beat up for eighth runs on five hits and four walks in 1 1/3 frames. Rochester added three runs in the top of the sixth on Ryan Webberly’s (Cal Poly Pomona) three-run homer before Hill took his second pitch over the right field wall to plate Waterloo’s only run in the bottom of the inning.

Then, the Honkers flew across the bases for five runs in the top of the seventh, a strike that seemingly took the wind out of the Bucks’ figurative sails. Struggling to locate the strike zone, Perry gave up five runs before Matthew James (Illinois) recorded the final two outs with strikeout and a fly out.

Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) closed the final two frames on the mound for the Bucks, going scoreless along with a hit given up in his first trip to the mound in 2015. Including Hill’s three hits, the Bucks collected seven total smacks before falling, 12-1.    

Game Two

Box Score Game 2

After the two-hour bus ride up to Mayo Field, the Bucks pieced together just three hits on the way to a 7-2 loss on the road. Frank Rubio took the loss after 4 2/3 innings on the mound, surrendering four runs, four runs, three earned, on six hits along with two walks and a season-high eight strikeouts.

The entire pitching staff fanned 13 Honkers on the night, but their acts on the hill could not be helped in the box as Matt Fiedler (Minnesota) shut down the Bucks for just two hits over six innings in the start.          

Tim Millard (Dallas Baptist) sent the Bucks in front, 1-0, in the top of the second when doubled and scored on Matthew James’ run-scoring single on two outs.

Rochester managed to combat the feat with five unanswered runs before giving way to a Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) unearned run in the top of the eighth. Jonah Bride doubled him in to make it a 5-2 game before Mark Contreras sent a two-run shot into right-center in the bottom half to dismantle the Bucks in the 7-2 final.

Charlie Naso, Jr. (Illinios) was strong out of the bullpen for Waterloo, giving up one unearned run on two hits and three strikeouts as Andrew Muehlberger (Coffeyville CC) was rattled for just two hits, including the home run, in his one inning of work in the eighth.

Waterloo hits the road for two games in St. Cloud on July 26 and 27 before opening a two-game series in Alexandria for games on August 1 and 2.

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.