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Corsentino and Pontes dice Rox, Bucks bats red-hot in 9-0 sweep of St. Cloud

Waterloo Bucks (12-4) pitchers Blake Corsentino and Blaze Pontes dominated the St. Cloud Rox (8-6) in a 9-0 shutout on Tuesday night to earn a series sweep. Now winners of three straight, three Bucks collected multi-hit games while Cameron Repetti (1-for-5, R, RBI, 2 SB) added a straight steal of home to fuel a nine-run outburst by the lineup. Corsentino and Pontes allowed just three baserunners on three singles and faced two shy of the minimum while striking out 10 and walking none. The Bucks hold a three-game lead in the Great Plains East headed into Wednesday’s off day and continue to build on the Northwoods League’s best record.

Corsentino was lights-out for the Bucks in his third start of the season, earning the win by retiring 15 of 16 over 5.0 scoreless innings. The righthander allowed a bleeder two-out single in the first and proceeded to put away the next 13 men he faced to close out his start. He struck out a season-high six, recorded eight whiffs on 70 pitches and generated grounders at a 50.0% clip.

Waterloo opened the scoring in the third as Liam Critchett (0-for-2, BB, R) and Tynan Shahidi (0-for-2, HBP, R) were walked and hit by a pitch respectively, then advanced 90 feet each on a Gabe Baldovino (0-for-2, BB, SAC) sacrifice bunt. Paul Steffensen (o-for-4, HBP, RBI) plated Critchett with a groundout followed by a Garrett McGowan (3-for-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI) RBI double laced down the left field line. McGowan’s double gave him the NWL lead in both doubles and RBI with eight and 18 respectively.

With two away in the fifth, McGowan ripped a single into right-center, scampered to second on a wild pitch then scored on an infield single off the bat of Gabe Garcia (1-for-4, BB, R, RBI, SB) as the Rox were caught napping and McGowan never stopped running around third.

Leading 3-0 entering the eighth, Max Jung-Goldberg (2-for-4, BB, R, 2 SB) singled to center and stole third before scoring on a Repetti RBI single. Carson Longstreth (0-for-1, BB, R) and Tavan Shahidi (0-for-0, BB) drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. St. Cloud’s pitcher began working from the full and Repetti alertly took a massive jump off of third, flying home and sliding in safely under the tag of the catcher on a straight steal of home. Baldovino drew a walk to reload the bases before a balk was called, plating Longstreth.

McGowan and Garcia led off the ninth with a single and a walk then Emi Gonzalez (2-for-5, R, 3B, 2 RBI) rocketed a two-run triple to right. Gonzalez kept a close eye on the catcher’s throw to complete a strikeout, racing home on the throw to make it 9-0 Bucks.

Pontes went the final 4.o frames and earned the save, allowing a pair of singles while striking out four and drawing seven whiffs on 42 pitches. The righthander worked at a 84.6% first-pitch strike rate and kept the Rox hitters on the ground at a 77.6% rate.

Waterloo begins a two-game home series against the Duluth Huskies on Thursday afternoon at Riverfront Stadium with a 12:05 p.m. CST first pitch.