Waterloo concludes its two-game series vs. Mankato on Sunday
By: Jared Shlensky
MANKATO, Minn. – Five strong innings from Kyle Leahy in his Northwoods League debut, three hits from Lane Milligan and four scoreless innings from the bullpen led the Bucks to a 5-2 win over the Mankato Moondogs in the series opener on Saturday. Milligan finished a home run shy of the cycle while Tyler Curtis and Justin Beck also reached base three times on the night.
Waterloo (9-13, 31-26) jumped in front 2-0 for the second straight night with a pair of runs in the first. Zach Weatherford drew a leadoff walk before Milligan brought him around with an RBI triple to right-center. Curtis doubled the Bucks’ lead with an RBI single down the right field line.
Mankato (13-8, 35-21) quickly countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first, tying the game at 2-2. Back-to-back singles from Gavin Wehby and David Metzgar gave the Monndogs runners on first and second. All-Star Jake Shepski followed with a walk before Jordan Washam delivered a two-run single to left, plating both Wehby and Metzgar.
The Bucks regained the lead with two more runs in the sixth. Milligan started the inning with a double to right-center before Curtis singled to right, giving Waterloo runners on the corners. Adam McGinnis followed Curtis with an RBI single to center to make 3-2 before a passed ball with the bases-loaded on a dropped third strike scored Curtis from third, putting the Bucks up 4-2.
Waterloo scored their final run of the night with two outs in the eighth. McGinnis reached on an error before Travon Benton drew a walk. After Robert Neustrom lined into a double play, Beck delivered an RBI single to left, plating Benton from third.
Gavin Wehby cut the Waterloo lead to 5-3 with a solo home to right-center to begin the bottom of the ninth. The home run for Wehby was his first of year and his 16th RBI of the season.
Leahy (1-0) allowed just two runs on six hits, striking out five and walking two over five innings in the win. Trevor Patterson (3), Hunter Spencer (7) and Brandon Downey (2) each recorded holds with scoreless relief appearances.
Derek Hendrixson (5) secured the win with the save in the ninth. Hendrixson allowed one run on one hits and struck out the final two batters on the night.
Dalton Lehnen (0-3) was charged with the loss. Lehnen allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits, walking two and striking out six over five innings.
Waterloo begins a three-game road trip on Saturday in Minn. vs. the Mankato Moondogs. First pitch in the series opener is at 6:05 p.m. with RHP Kyle Leahy (0-0, 0.00) opposing Mankato LHP Dalton Lehnen (0-2, 7.14).
Waterloo returns on Monday for the finale of a day-night doubleheader vs. the La Crosse Loggers. First pitch from Riverfront is at 7:05 p.m. Monday game is also another Buck Night. 10 oz. draft beer, 12 oz. fountain soda, small popcorn and ice cream sandwiches cost $1.00 while hot dogs are just $1.50.
All Waterloo Bucks games can be heard online at waterloobucks.com with Jared Shlensky.