Bucks edge past Border Cats, 9-8, in series finale
Waterloo begins season-long six-game road trip on Tuesday night against the St. Cloud Rox.
By: Jared Shlensky
WATERLOO, Iowa. – Waterloo extended its winning streak to three with a 9-8 win over the Thunder Bay Border Cats on Sunday afternoon at Riverfront Stadium. The sweep was the Bucks’ fourth of the year and improved Waterloo’s record to 9-0 in the last game of a series.
Shane Shepard gave Thunder Bay an early 1-0 lead with a two-out solo home run to-left center in the first.
Waterloo (14-5) quickly answered with a pair of runs in the third. A Robert Neustrom fielder’s choice followed by a Daniel Perry single to left gave the Bucks runners on first and second before Taylor Boyd drew a walk to load the bases. Two batters later, Lane Milligan gave the Bucks their first lead of the night with a two-out, two-run single to center, scoring both Neustrom and Perry.
After both teams failed to score in the fourth and fifth, Thunder Bay (1-18) regained the lead with four runs in the sixth. An Andy Weber single followed by a Shepard walk gave the Border Cats runners on first and second before Andrew Fregia cranked a three-run home run to left, putting Thunder Bay in front, 4-2. The three-run homer for Fregia was also his second in the last two games. Thunder Bay extended their lead to 5-2 on Rob Andreoli’s RBI double down the left field line, bringing around Mitch Bigras all the way form first.
Trailing by three, Waterloo tied the game at 5-5 with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Curtis singled to left to start the frame before Alex Boxwell moved Curtis up 90-feet with a single of his own. Zach Weatherford trimmed the Thunder Bay lead to two with an RBI double to left-center, scoring Curtis. Neustrom followed Weatherford with a two-out, two-run single back through middle, plating both Boxwell and Weatherford.
The Border Cats jumped back in front with a run in the seventh. Three straight singles from Bobby Honeyman, Weber and Shepard loaded the bases before Joe Gellenbeck made it 7-6 with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Waterloo quickly countered with four runs in the seventh. A one-out walk from Milligan followed by another single from Curtis gave the Bucks runners on first and second before Adam McGinnis delivered a towering three-run home run, his team-leading third of the season. Boxwell followed McGinnis with a triple to right-center before Neustrom brought him in on an RBI groundout to the left side, giving the Bucks a 9-6 advantage.
Pinch-hitter Robert Boselli cut the Bucks’ lead to two with an RBI groundout in the eighth before Joe Gellenbeck’s RBI single in the ninth made it 9-8.
Jonathan Buckley (1-0) recorded the win in his first home appearance on the year. Buckley yielded one run on a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Nate Spielvogel (1) earned his first hold after retiring both hitters he faced in the eighth.
Brandon Downey (6) secured the win with his league-leading sixth save of the year. Buckley allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out a pair. The unearned run in the ninth ended Downey’s consecutive scoreless innings streak at 13.
Ben Hoffman (0-2) suffered the loss in relief for Thunder Bay. Hoffman allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in one inning.
The Bucks begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday in St. Cloud, Minn., against the Rox. First pitch in the series opener is at 7:05 p.m. RHP Jared Crescentini (2-0, 2.66) gets the ball for Waterloo while St. Cloud sends RHP Shelby Lackey (0-0, 2.45) to the mound.
Waterloo returns home to Riverfront Stadium on Monday, June 27th vs. La Crosse. Monday’s game is another Buck Night. 10 oz. draft beer, 12 oz. fountain soda, small popcorn and ice cream sandwiches are $1.00 while hot dogs are just $1.50.