Bucks Stung By Willmar, 8-6
The Waterloo Bucks' offense was as quiet as a opossum in the first three innings of their game against Willmar at Riverfront Stadium Saturday night (July 16, 2016). So, there was some irony when a opposum found its way onto the playing field during the eighth inning of the 8-6 setback, the Bucks' fifth in the last six games.
A four-hit night from Brody Weiss wasn’t enough for the locals on UNI Panthers Pride night. The Bucks never led and have now made an error in a season-high 15 consecutive games after committing two on Saturday.
Willmar (8-3, 26-31) scored an unearned run in the first inning after Waterloo opened the game with a fielding error. The Stingers quickly extended their lead to 5-0 when they scored three two-out runs in the second and added a single tally in the third.
The Waterloo (5-6, 27-19) offense came to life in the fourth inning, when the Bucks scored three two-out runs and trimmed the visitors' lead to 5-3. Robert Neustrom reached on a Stingers' fielding error to start the frame before Travon Benton drew a walk. Alex Boxwell followed with an RBI double down the right field line and Weiss followed with a two-run single to left.
Each team traded runs in the fifth inning to make the score 6-4. For Waterloo, Neustrom connected for a lead-off single and moved to second on a wild pitch. He scored two batters later when Tyler Curtis reached on an error.
The Stingers tallied their final two runs in the seventh inning before Waterloo added a pair of scores in the ninth. Weiss, the son of Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss, recorded the last of his four hits with a single before pinch-hitter Zac Sanders was hit on the hand with a pitch. A two-run triple by Lane Milligan then cut Willmar's advantage in half, and also ended the Bucks' rally.
Starting pitcher Steven Baker (1-3) was charged with the loss on a night when he struggled to record outs. The right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits, striking out two and walking two over just 1.2 innings.
Baker was the first of five pitchers Waterloo used in the game. Willmar used just two, who combined to strike out 14 Waterloo batters on the night.
UP NEXT: The Bucks conclude their four-game home stand on Sunday (July 17) with the series finale against Willmar. It is the final game for both teams heading into a three-day break for the Northwoods League All-Star game.
Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks