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Hand’s walk-off fielder’s choice completes 4-3 comeback win

Bucks improve to 2-0 for second straight year on Jake Hand’s walk-off fielder’s choice in the 10th.

By: Jared Shlensky

Box Score: http://northwoods.bbstats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=316627

        6-1 Photo                Bucks-WIN-Web

WATERLOO, Iowa Jake Hand beat out a potential double-play ball in the bottom of the 10th to give the Waterloo Bucks a 4-3 walk-off win over the St. Cloud Rox on Wednesday night in front of 964 fans at Riverfront Stadium. Adam McGinnis started the inning with a single off the base of the wall in right-center before pinch-hitter Jake Adams moved him to third with a sharp single to right-center. Two batters later, Hand grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, just beating the throw to first to lift the Bucks to their first extra-winning win of the season.  

Brandon Downey (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief. Downey retired six of the seven hitters he faced, and is the first Bucks pitcher this year to tally a win and save in 2016.

St. Cloud (0-2) got out to a quick 1-0 lead with a two-out run in the top of the first. Ricky Ramirez led off the ball game with a single to right, before scoring on Ben Peterson’s two-out RBI single to right.

Waterloo (2-0) quickly evened things at 1-1 with a run in the bottom of the second. Tyler Curtis started the frame with a walk before advancing to second on a throwing error by starter Austin Dubsky on a pickoff attempt. Adam McGinnis followed Curtis with an RBI single off the mitt of first baseman Brandon Illies, scoring Curtis from second.  

The Rox quickly regained the lead with another two-out run in the top of the fifth. Austin LaDoux drew a base on balls to open the inning before advancing to second on Shelby Lackey’s sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Chris Kwitzer brought in LaDoux with an RBI single to left-center.

The Bucks answered again with a run of their own in the bottom of the fifth. Waterloo native Zach Fricke started the inning with a double to right before moving to third on a wild pitch. McGinnis then hit a hit chopper to third, however, Illies couldn’t handle the throw at first, allowing Fricke to score.

Waterloo went up for the first time on the night with a run in the seventh. Back-to-back walks by Zac Sanders and Daniel Perry gave the Bucks runners on first and second to begin the frame. Fricke then grounded out to second, allowing both baserunners to advance 90-feet. Curtis put the Bucks up 3-2 with an RBI single back through the middle, plating Sanders from third.

The Bucks lead didn’t last long though, as Ricky Ramirez led off the top of the eighth for St. Cloud with a solo home run over the 16-foot wall in right, tying the game at 3-3.

Reliever Derek Hendrickson shined in his Bucks debut on Wednesday night. Hendrickson retired all seven hitters he faced in 2 1/3 innings of relief, including three via the strikeout.

Austin Briggs (0-1) was tagged for the loss in his St. Cloud Rox debut. The southpaw yielded one run on three hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

The Waterloo Bucks continue their four-game homestand tomorrow night vs. the Lakeshore Chinooks. First pitch in the series opener is at 7:05 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m. RHP Brett Solano (0-0, 0.00) makes his Waterloo Bucks season debut tomorrow while Lakeshore counters with RHP Cole Gentz (0-0, 0.00). You can listen to Jared Shlensky and all 72 Waterloo Bucks regular-season games online at waterloobucks.com

Tomorrow’s series opener vs. Lakeshore is a Thirsty Thursday and College Night. College students receive reserved seat tickets and two hot dogs for just $7.00. Bottled water, 24 oz. fountain soda, 12 oz. draft and small popcorn are just $2.00.