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Electrifying extra-innings win earns Bucks victory No. 25 of 2021

The Waterloo Bucks’ (25-17, 2-6) thin pitching staff and banged-up lineup demonstrated their moxie and heart in a thrilling 7-6 10-inning win over the Rochester Honkers (19-21, 4-4) on Tuesday night. Down 3-1 through six, the Bucks rallied for four in the seventh and another in the eighth before taking the decisive lead on a Max Jung-Goldberg (0-for-0, RBI, SF) pinch-hit sac fly in the tenth. Jalen Smith (2-for-4, BB, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI), Johnny Tincher (2-for-4, BB, R) and Josh Kasevich (2-for-5, RBI) each had two hits while Reuben Church (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K) earned the save in his first pitching appearance since his junior year of high school to secure the win.

Waterloo opened the scoring in the first as Tincher and Smith reached on back-to-back leadoff singles, Kasevich bounced into a fielder’s choice then Garrett McGowan (0-for-4, RBI, SF) plated Smith with a sac fly. The Honkers scored three in the home half, chasing the Bucks’ starter from the game.

Aaron Treloar kept the deficit at two with 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and allowing just one baserunner on a walk. Decker Stedman entered after Treloar, going 3.0 frames of one-run baseball while scattering four hits and two walks, punching out one.

The Bucks made their comeback in the seventh as Dalton Chandler (1-for-3, HBP, R, RBI, SF) led off with a double but held at second on a Chris Seng (1-for-4, BB, R) one-out single dumped into center. Tincher laced a single to left, loading the bases, then Smith rifled a game-tying two-run double down the left field line. Kasevich followed with an infield single bounced over the mound, scoring Tincher, then Smith alertly scampered home on a throw to first to put the Bucks in front 4-2.

Rochester scored a run in the following half-inning. Liam Critchett (0-for-3, BB) drew a walk and was pinch-ran for by Ryan McNally (0-for-1, 2 R) in the ensuing frame, with McNally later scoring on a Chandler sacrifice fly.

The Honkers tied the game in the ninth inning with a two-run home run, sending things to extras tied at six. With McNally on second with the tiebreaker rule, Emi Gonzalez (0-for-1) advanced him to second on a flyout then Chandler was hit by a pitch to put men on the corners for Jung-Goldberg. MJG brought home McNally with a sacrifice fly, giving Waterloo their 7-6 lead.

Church closed things out in the tenth, inducing a grounder to short that Kasevich alertly initiated a rundown on to cut down the tiebreaker runner at second, then the Bucks’ third baseman-turned-pitcher struck out back-to-back batters featuring a fastball up to 93 mph.

Eli Emerson earned his third win of the summer with 2.0 innings of two-run, one-hit baseball while striking out three.

Waterloo and Rochester play a doubleheader on Wednesday at 11:05 a.m. and 6:35 p.m. CST at Riverfront Stadium.