The Waterloo Bucks (18-8) scored five in the eighth and four in the ninth to erase a 5-2 deficit and sweep the Duluth Huskies (8-18) by an 11-5 final on Friday night. Emi Gonzalez (2-for-3, 2 BB, 2B, 3 RBI, SB) delivered the knockout blow with a go-ahead three-run double in the eighth, while Garrett McGowan (3-for-3, 2 BB, 3 R, RBI, SB) reached base five times and Jalen Smith (2-for-4, BB, 3 R, 2B, SB) scored three runs in the leadoff spot. With the win and a La Crosse loss in Eau Claire, the Bucks now lead the Great Plains-East by 6.0 games and hold a magic number of five.
Duncan Davitt dealt 5.1 strong innings while taking a no-decision, battling back from being struck by a broken bat to allow five runs on eight hits, scattering three walks and striking out three on 107 pitches.
Waterloo opened the scoring in the first as McGowan and Josh Kasevich (1-for-4, BB, R) rapped back-to-back singles, with an errant throw on a pickoff attempt of Kasevich allowing McGowan to cross home. After Duluth tied the game in the fourth, Smith ripped a two-out double down the left field line in the fifth and scored on a McGowan RBI single.
Trailing 5-2 entering the eighth, Smith led off with an infield single followed by three straight walks issued to McGowan, Kasevich and Daniel Irisarri (1-for-4, BB, 2 R, 3 RBI). Reuben Church (1-for-4, RBI) smoked a two-strike RBI single back up the middle to cut the deficit to one, then Gonzalez laced a bases-clearing double to right, giving Waterloo a 7-5 lead.
Smith drew a walk to begin the ninth then McGowan singled back up the middle. One out later the duo executed a double-steal and were plated by an Irisarri two-run single sent into center. Chris Seng (1-for-1, 2 R, SB) lifted a single down the right field line and stole second, then following a four-pitch walk to Gonzalez the Bucks added two more as Max Jung-Golberg (1-for-2, RBI) rifled a two-run single the opposite way.
Curren Larson earned his third win of the summer with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just two baserunners on a hit and a walk while striking out three. Brycen Mautz slammed the door with 2.0 shutout frames to pick up save number three, punching out a pair and scattering a hit and two walks.
The Bucks are idle this weekend before returning to action on Monday, June 28 at Riverfront Stadium with a 6:35 p.m. CST start against the Bismarck Larks.