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Bucks earn series split with 5-3 win over Willmar

Bucks-WIN-Web

Waterloo returns from the All-Star break on Thursday in Minnesota vs. the Mankato Moondogs.  

Box Score: http://northwoods.bbstats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=317041

By: Jared Shlensky

WATERLOO, Iowa – Two hits from Waterloo, Iowa native, Zach Fricke and 5 2/3 strong innings from the bullpen guided the Bucks past the Willmar Stingers, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon. The win gives the Bucks their second straight series split and puts Waterloo 2 1/2 games over Willmar for fourth overall in the North Division.

Waterloo (6-6, 28-19) took an early 1-0 lead with a two-out run in the third. Zach Weatherford gave the Bucks their first hit of the game with a sharp single to left. Weatherford then stole second before coming in to score on Lane Milligan’s RBI single to center.

Willmar (8-4, 26-22) took their first lead of the day with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Danny Pardo reached on a bunt single to begin the inning before moving up to second on a balk. Greg Lambert followed Pardo with a groundout to the left side, moving Pardo up to third. Danny Mayer tied the game with an RBI single to left. Luke Becker then drew a walk before Travis Wacker gave the Stingers a 2-1 lead with a two-out RBI single to left.

The Bucks tied the game at 2-2 with another two-out run in the bottom of the fourth. A pinch-hit single to right from Zach Fricke started the frame. Alex Boxwell moved Fricke into scoring position with a groundout to the right side before Tyler Curtis followed Boxwell with an RBI single in to left, bringing around Fricke from second.

Waterloo regained the lead with two runs in the sixth. Robert Neustrom doubled down the left field line before Fricke brought him in with an RBI double off the left-center fence. Boxwell followed with the third straight double, bringing around Fricke from second.

The Stingers trimmed the Bucks’ lead to 4-3 with a run in the seventh. Pardo reached for the third time on the day with a walk before Lambert moved him to second with a single. Mayer drove in his second RBI of the game with an RBI single to center, bringing around Pardo from second.

The Bucks added an insurance run in the eighth to go up 5-3. Jake Hand and Fricke drew back-to-back walks to start the frame before Boxwell was hit on the side to load the bases. Curtis recorded his second RBI of the game with a bases-loaded walk, allowing Hand to score from third.

Patrick Boyle (4-2) earned his first win out of the bullpen in 1 1/3 innings. The southpaw yielded an unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out one. Trevor Patterson (2), Hunter Spencer (5) and Derek Hendrixson (5) each recorded holds with scoreless appearances in relief.

Brandon Downey (10) secured the win with the save the in the ninth. Downey faced the minimum in the inning and is now a perfect 10/10 in save opportunities this season. The right-hander has also not allowed an earned run on the year following Sunday’s scoreless inning.

Tyler Hanson (4-1) suffered the loss. The right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits, striking out a season-high nine and walking one over six innings. ​

The Bucks are idle until Thursday when Northwoods league play resumes following the three-day All-Star break. Waterloo opens the All-Star break in Minnesota with a two-game series against the Mankato Moondogs. First pitch in the series opener is at 7:05 p.m.

Waterloo returns home on Saturday, July 23rd, for a 7:05 p.m. game vs. Mankato. Saturday’s game is a Pink Out and a Post-Game Fireworks Extravaganza. The Bucks will wear special pink jerseys, sponsored by Great Clips, PDCM Insurance and Visions Hair Studio. Proceeds from the jersey auction will go to the Beyond Pink TEAM. Beyond Pink TEAM members will also be giving out Pink Ribbon Tattoos on Saturday.

All Waterloo Bucks games can be heard online at waterloobucks.com with Jared Shlensky.