Matthew James (Illinois) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to halt Waterloo’s losing streak.
By: Matt Gruemmer, Waterloo Bucks
ROCHESTER, Minn. – Ending a franchise-worst 11-game losing skid, the Waterloo Bucks (30-39/12-21) held off the Rochester Honkers (38-31/18-17), 5-4, Thursday night at Mayo Field. With the game-tying and game-winning runners aboard for the Honkers in the bottom of the ninth, Matthew James (Illinois) battled the pressure and crowd to escape a one-out, bases-loaded situation to pick up the save and spoil Rochester’s regular-season finale at home.
Daniel Perry (Iowa) had a big night at the plate for Waterloo, reaching on all four trips to the box with a double, triple, and pair of walks to go along with two runs scored in the win. Chris Kelly (DMACC) added two RBIs for the Bucks, including his first home run, a solo blast in the top of the fourth inning. The Honkers utilized only home runs to supply their offense, launching three different long balls en route to their third straight loss in Rochester.
Waterloo’s defense was flawless behind the winning start of Zach Siggelkow (1-2) (St. Cloud St.) that featured two strikeouts, four walks and two runs on six hits over five innings on the hill. The Bucks’ bullpen solidified the victory over the final four innings, moving Waterloo to a 3-4 mark in the 2015 SCHEELS 63 Cup with just one game to go.
Perry got the Bucks on the board, 1-0, in the top of the second when he tripled in Zach Fricke (Iowa) with a curling shot down the right field line. Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) drove in Perry in the next at-bat after his ground ball to third was thrown across the diamond as an error.
With a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, Taylor Lane (Florida) sent the first of his two singles to left field to begin the frame. Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) followed the drive with a single of his own before Tim Millard (Dallas Baptist) advanced both runners with a sacrifice-bunt in front of home plate. Then, Fricke sent in Lane on a sacrifice-fly to the middle of center field to make it a 3-0 Waterloo advantage.
Matt Fielder (Minnesota) and Adam Walton (Illinois) responded for Rochester in the bottom of the third with two solo dingers over the wall in left off Siggelkow. The two round-trippers, the first of the season given up by the starting southpaw, made it a 3-2 game heading to the fourth.
Joining the home run derby, Kelly got in on the action with a solo blast of his own with one out in the top of the fourth. Kelly’s first home run of the season sent the Bucks back in front by a pair, 4-2.
Perry struck again for Waterloo in the top of the fifth when he advance to second on a lead-off double that was lost in the lights by the Honkers’ defense. After a base on balls was issued to Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast), Kelly sent a shallow single into the center field grass to plate Perry for the 5-2 score.
Charlie Naso, Jr. (Illinois) entered out of the bullpen for Waterloo in the bottom of the sixth with no outs and a man on first base. Naso escaped the threat with a strikeout and a 9-5 double play, led by Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) in right field. The right-handed reliever finished with two innings of two-run ball on two hits and a pair of strikeouts.
Joe DeRoche-Duffin (Connecticut) sent his team-best 12th home run of the season over the right field wall in the bottom of the seventh on a towering shot to cut Rochester’s deficit to 5-4. Fielder came in on the smash after he recorded a two-out single up the middle in center field.
Parker Bolt (Wartburg) toed the rubber in the bottom of the eighth and posted one inning of scoreless ball when he induced a fly-out to center field with the game-tying runner at second base.
James, then, took the mound to close the ninth for Waterloo and picked up his second save of the season after escaping a bases-loaded jam. The Honkers started the frame with a walk and a single before Fielder was thrown out at first base on a 2-4 sacrifice-bunt.
The Bucks strategically issued an intentional-walk to DeRoche-Duffin with one out before James secured the 5-4 victory with a strikeout and a fielder’s choice ground-out to shortstop.
Waterloo closes the rivalry-series with Rochester at Riverfront Stadium Friday at 7:05 p.m. (CST). 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.