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Border Cats clip Bucks, 7-4

Tim Millard (Dallas Baptist) scored and drove in a pair of runs as Waterloo’s setback-streak reached 11 games.

Box Score

By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks

WATERLOO, Iowa – Dropping their 11th consecutive contest, the Waterloo Bucks (29-39/11-21) received a constant barrage of Thunder Bay Border Cat (32-36/15-18) offense in a 7-4 decision Wednesday night at Riverfront Stadium. Tim Millard (Dallas Baptist) led the Bucks with a run scored and a two-run double while Matthew James (Illinois) recorded his first triple of the year and logged one inning on the mound from the bullpen.

Dan Rizzie (Xavier) pushed his hitting-streak to 21 consecutive games with two doubles and four RBIs as Jared James (Long Beach St.) reclaimed the league-best batting average of .367 with a triple and two singles in the series sweep of Waterloo. Bryan Polowy (1-3) (North Central) registered a season-high six strikeouts in the start and was charged with the loss for the Bucks after being attacked for six runs on eight hits over five innings of work.

Kyle Von Ruden (3-4) (Hawaii) took the win and let up all four runs to Waterloo on six hits through eight complete frames on the hill. Ryan Johnson (Vanderbilt) toed the rubber in the bottom of the ninth for the Border Cats and earned his first save after facing the minimum number of batters in the inning.

Thunder Bay took an early 2-0 lead in the third when Jared James tripled to open the frame. In the next at-bat, Matt Batten (Quinnipiac) sent a fielder’s choice to second base that forced James into a rundown between home and third. A throwing error from third base to the backstop on the play allowed James to score for the 1-0 advantage while it also allowed Batten to reach third. Then, Rizzie sent a sacrifice-fly to deep center to score Batten to send the Cats in front by a pair of runs.

Chris Kelly (DMACC) responded for Waterloo in the bottom of the third with a lead-off single and a score from a Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) single to cut the lead in half, 2-1.

The decisive blow was made in the top of the fourth when Rizzie sent a two-out, bases-clearing double to the wall that brought in three runs. The Border Cats utilized three consecutive singles to load the bases before Rizzie’s blast to make it a 5-1 lead.

Alan Balwain (Hawaii) helped the Thunder Bay cause in the top of the fifth when he singled and stole himself into scoring position with two outs. Grant McKown’s (Florida Tech.) run-scoring single drove in Baldwin in the next plate appearance, making it a 6-1 score.

Taylor Gilson (Wartburg) opened the top of the sixth for the Bucks’ pitching staff, and tossed two scoreless innings of relief while inducing a 6-4-3 double play in his Northwoods League debut.

Waterloo rallied for three two-out runs in the bottom of the sixth to edge the game to a 6-4 margin with four straight base-hits. Following singles from Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) and Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC), Millard belted a double down the right field line to bring in both runners. Matthew James legged out a triple to the wall in left-center field in the next at-bat to send Millard across for the two-run deficit.

Doug Hayes (Illinois) pitched through a scoreless top of the eighth while surrendering a walk for the Bucks before handing the ball to collegiate teammate Matthew James in the top of the ninth. Rizzie struck a double to open the frame off James before scoring on a Joe Gellenbeck (Xavier) single to push the score to its final mark, 7-4.

The Bucks travel to Rochester to face the Honkers in the SCHEELS 63 Cup in a 7:05 p.m. (CST) start at Mayo Field before closing the rivalry series in Waterloo Friday at 7:05 p.m. in Riverfront.

It will be the final regular season home game of the 2015 season, and the Bucks want to thank our awesome fans! Join us for a special night with prizes being given out all game long as a part of fan appreciation night!

Friday also marks the final Flat Screen Friday of the season where fans ages 18 and older can register to win one of three 32" flat screen TVs that will be given away as the game. Join us as well for a fireworks show following the Bucks game! Fireworks shows are VERY popular so make sure to get your tickets now!

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.