Bucks win 5-0 on Opening Day behind Cook’s brilliance

The Waterloo Bucks (1-0) shut out the Duluth Huskies (0-1) 5-0 on Opening Day, receiving a 5.0-frame masterpiece from starter Harrison Cook while the bats came alive with two out in the fifth to plate all five of their runs. First-year field manager Ryan Gaynor earned the win in his Bucks managerial debut, which is also his first collegiate head coaching victory.

Harrison Cook provided the Bucks with a gem, going 5.0 innings on just 61 pitches while allowing only two hits and a walk. The righthander struck out five and worked at a 76.5% first-pitch strike rate. He retired each of the first nine batters he faced, going the minimum through 4.1 thanks to catcher Emi Gonzalez (1-for-4) gunning down a basestealer in the fourth.

Waterloo did their damage in the fifth, as Daniel Irisarri (1-for-3, BB, R, SB) and Gabe Baldovino (0-for-3, BB, R, SB) drew back-to-back one-out walks. A successful double steal by the pair swung the momentum in the Bucks’ favor, but a flyout to shallow right wasn’t lifted deep enough to score Irisarri. Aaron Treloar (1-for-2, 2 BB, R, 2B) drew a walk to load the bases, then a wild pitch during Paul Steffensen’s (1-for-4, BB, R) plate appearance plated Irisarri as the game’s first run. Steffensen  watched ball four go by to reload the bases. Garrett McGowan (1-for-5, R, 2 RBI) dumped a two-run single down the left field line, opening the game up to a 3-0 Waterloo, followed by a blistering two-run Tavan Shahidi (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI) double off the wall in deep right-center field to cap off the scoring.

Cook pitched his way out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fifth, inducing a fielder’s choice and a flyout to center.

Eli Emerson came on in relief of Cook in the sixth and fired a one-two-three frame in his Northwoods League debut, going on to work 2.0 scoreless with a pair of hits allowed. The young righthander showcased his competitiveness in the seventh, rebounding from back-to-back leadoff singles to fire another shutout inning.

Camren Landry entered in the eighth and struck out one in a scoreless frame, then closed things out by striking out the side in the ninth. Landry worked at a 24.1% wiff rate, piling up seven swings-and-misses on 29 pitches.

The Bucks and Huskies wrap up their series on Tuesday with a 6:35 p.m. CST first pitch at Wade Stadium.