Stingers Walk-Off Bucks, 3-2

WILLMAR, Minn. – After a two-run first inning, and lights-out pitching the Bucks were feeling confident heading into the back third of the ballgame. The Stingers would prove them wrong.

The Waterloo Bucks (2-11, 11-36) finally had a feel-good first inning. Scoring twice as Clayton Gray laced an RBI single into left that scored Aaron Ujimori, and later in the inning, Josh Patrick hit a sac fly to left that scored Tai Walton from third to take an early lead.

Frankie Cresta took the mound as the starter and made the Willmar Stingers (10-3, 31-16) look silly retiring the first eight batters in order before Brett Bateman finally reached via a walk. On a quality start for Cresta, he went five only allowing a run on three hits.

However, the offense couldn’t do anything outside of the first frame to back him up. Blake Benson would be the first arm out of the bullpen for Waterloo, and he picked up right where Cresta led off putting Willmar away in the sixth and seventh to send the game into the eighth with the Bucks holding a narrow 2-1 lead.

But in the eighth, plans would change as Zac Corbin hit a leadoff double, followed by a Joey Walls single to put runners at the corners with nobody out. Will Hodo then struck out, and the Bucks were given a huge break as Aidan Byrne lined out to third baseman Josh Patrick. The Willmar runners were off their bases, and Patrick saw an opportunity for an inning-ending double play.

But the second baseman Caleb Corbin wasn’t ready for the throw as it sailed into right field, Zac Corbin came into score easily and tie the game at twos.

The Bucks’ offense continued to struggle in the ninth as they went three up, three down needing three outs to at least force extra innings.

Benson was back out for his fourth inning of work out of the bullpen as pinch hitter Scott Anderson singled to put a runner aboard. A flyout, out one. But Benson balked and allowed a subsequent walk to Bateman to put two runners aboard.

Anthony Pron was the next option out of the bullpen as Tyler Willis made the change. Strikeout, out two. With Zac Corbin back up to bat a pitch got away putting the runners at second and third. But Corbin would rope a single into right, Pearson came into score, and the Stingers walked it off, 3-2.

It was a night in which the bats couldn’t get going apart from the first inning, and the Bucks’ 100th error of the season caused the tying run to score. The Bucks now look for the series split Sunday at 5:05 p.m. from Bill Taunton Stadium against the Stingers in their second game of the eight-game road trip.

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