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Mitchell punches out 11, carves Loggers as Bucks rally for thrilling 4-3 win

Waterloo Bucks (27-18, 4-7) starting pitcher Michael Mitchell absolutely shoved with 6.0 scoreless innings of four-hit, one-walk baseball while striking out 11 as the lineup flexed its versatility late in a 4-3 road win over the La Crosse Loggers (19-29, 5-7) on Friday evening. Mitchell worked at a 73.9% first-pitch strike rate, piled up 15 whiffs on 97 pitches and pounded the zone at a 70.1% clip while inducing weak contact on 36.4% of balls in play. All seven of the game’s runs scored after the sixth. Waterloo’s Josh Kasevich (2-for-4, R, RBI) and Max Jung-Goldberg (2-for-4) each had multi-hit performances in the win, while the Bucks tied a season-high with 17 strikeouts.

Mitchell displayed his bulldog toughness in the first inning, working around the Loggers putting two on in scoring position with nobody out to keep the game scoreless. Garrett McGowan (0-for-4, SB) made an incredible throw to nail a runner at home to help secure the shutout frame.

The Bucks’ starter dueled the Loggers’ righthander through six scoreless frames, rolling up a weak grounder right back to him in the sixth to finish his final inning of work and leave two on. Kasevich and Jung-Goldberg opened the seventh with back-to-back singles, then McGowan tapped a fielder’s choice to advance Kasevich to third. A short while later the Bucks’ shortstop scampered home on a passed ball, giving Waterloo a 1-0 lead.

La Crosse tied the game in the home half only to see Ryan McNally (1-for-3, HBP, R, RBI, SB) and Sam Biller (0-for-3, BB, R, SB) begin the top of eight with a hit-by-pitch and a walk. The pair took off on a double steal and drew an errant throw into left, allowing McNally to cross home as the go-ahead run. Biller scored one batter later as Kasevich grounded a ball to first, with Biller sliding in safely under the throw from La Crosse’s first baseman.

Nolan Santos earned his first win in relief by covering 2.0 frames and striking out five.

McNally gave the Bucks an incredibly crucial insurance run in the ninth, rifling a two-out RBI single through the left side to plate Liam Critchett (0-for-3, HBP, R, SB, ROE).

Aaron Treloar slammed the door with his first collegiate save in the ninth, striking out one while Chris Seng ended the game with a ridiculous sliding grab in right-center.

The Bucks return home on Saturday evening for their final pre-All Star Break series, taking on the St. Cloud Rox at 6:35 p.m. CST.