Bullpen leads Bucks to 5-2 win
Waterloo returns home on Sunday for a two-game series vs. Eau Claire
By: Jared Shlensky
THUNDER BAY, ONTRARIO, Canada – Five scoreless innings from the Waterloo bullpen and three RBI from Robert Neustrom guided the Waterloo Bucks to a 5-2 win over the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the series finale on Saturday night at Port Arthur Stadium. Waterloo never trailed in the game and has now won three of its first four games to begin the second half.
For the fourth straight night Waterloo took a 1-0 lead with a run in the first. Lane Milligan led off the game with a double down the right field line before Neustrom brought him in with an RBI double to right-center. The RBI double for Neustrom also extended his season-high on-base streak to 15 games, 14 of which he’s hit safely in.
Waterloo (3-1, 25-14) doubled their lead with a run in the second. Tyler Curtis led off the inning with a single to center before Alex Boxwell gave the Bucks a pair of runners in scoring position with a double to left-center. After Jake Hand flew out to left, Brody Weiss made it a 2-0 game with an RBI single to left-center.
Shane Shepard trimmed the Waterloo lead to one with a solo home run to right to begin the bottom of the third. The homer for Shepard was his second in as many days and his fourth of the season.
Waterloo went up 4-1 with two runs in the top of the fifth. Milligan led off the inning with a single to center before Taylor Boyd moved him to second with an infield single. Neustrom followed Boyd with a two-run double to right-center, plating both Milligan and Boyd.
Thunder Bay (2-2, 8-30) cut the Bucks’ lead to two with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Andy Weber led off the inning with a single to left before Shepard drew a walk. Anthony Brocato then singled to right, loading the bases for Joe Gellenbeck. Gellenbeck made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Weber from third.
Waterloo added its final run of the evening in the eighth. Curtis singled to left for his third hit of the game before Boxwell pulled a double down the right field line, giving the Bucks a pair of runners in scoring position. Hand followed Boxwell with an RBI groundout to the left side, bringing in Curtis from third.
Hunter Spencer (1-0) earned his first win of the season with 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. The southpaw hit a batter and walked two while striking out one.
Trevor Patterson (1) and Derek Hendrixson (4) each recorded holds in the victory. Patterson struck out the only batter he faced in a 1/3 of an inning while Hendrixson retired all six hitters he faced, three via the strikeout.
Brandon Downey (9) secured the win with his first save of the second half in the ninth. The right-hander hit a batter and yielded two hits in one scoreless inning.
Jordan Accetta recorded his second no-decision of the season against Thunder Bay in the series finale. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits, striking out none and matching a season-high with four walks over four innings. Cameron Churchill (2-1) allowed four runs over five innings on a season-high 10 hits in his first loss of the season for Thunder Bay.
Waterloo returns home to Riverfront Stadium on Sunday, July 10th, for the start of a two-game series vs. the Eau Claire Express. First pitch in the series opener is at 3:35 p.m. LHP Patrick Boyle (2-1, 4.94) goes up against Eau Claire’s RHP Michael Perez (0-1, 7.00).
Sunday’s game is another Kids Eat Free game and a Kids Candy Hunt. Kids 12 and under receive a hot dog, soda and popcorn for free. After the game, kids 12 and under are encouraged to stay for the Kids Candy Hunt. Candy will be spread throughout the infield grass for kids to pick up.
All Waterloo Bucks games can be heard online at waterloobucks.com with Jared Shlensky.