A four-run fifth inning followed by a two-out run in the bottom of the eighth pushed the St. Cloud Rox past the Waterloo Bucks, 5-4, in the series opener from Joe Faber Field on Tuesday night (June 21, 2016).

A one-out walk from Brody Weiss followed by back-to-back singles from Zach Weatherford and Taylor Boyd loaded the bases for Waterloo in the third inning before Lane Milligan drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 1-0.

Luke Stratman doubled the Bucks’ lead with a solo home run to begin the fifth. The home run for Stratman came in just his second at-bat of the season as the third baseman made his debut for Waterloo on Tuesday.

St. Cloud (14-6) took its first lead of the night with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Ben Peterson and Denis Karas recorded back-to-back singles to begin the inning before Drew Friedman laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners into scoring positon. Brandon Illias then tied the game at 2-2 with a two-run double to right-center. Brandon Benson followed Illias with a single to left, putting runners on the corners.

Two batters later, Ricky Ramirez reached on a Waterloo fielding error, allowing Illias to score from third. Luke Ringhofer followed with an RBI single to center, bringing in Benson and doubling the Rox’ lead to 4-2.

Waterloo (14-6) rallied to tie the game at 4-4 with two unearned runs in the seventh inning. Stratman reached on a fielder’s choice before Weatherford drew a walk, giving the Bucks runners on first and second. Boyd followed Weatherford with a two-out RBI single into right field, bringing in Stratman. Milligan then drew his second walk of the night to load the bases before Tyler Curtis drew a bases-loaded, bringing in Weatherford.

St. Cloud secured the win with a two-out run in the eighth. A double from Karas gave the Rox a runner in scoring position before Waterloo elected to intentionally walk Friedman. Illias made Waterloo pay with a sharp RBI single to center, scoring Karas for the go-ahead run.

Nate Spielvogel (1-2) was charged with the loss for Waterloo. The right-hander yielded one run on two hits and a walk in one inning of relief.

Robbie Palkert (1-0) earned the win for St. Cloud. The right-hander allowed no runs on two hits, striking out three and walking one in 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.

UP NEXT: The Bucks conclude their two-game series with the Rox in St. Cloud Wednesday night (June 22). Waterloo and St. Cloud are currently tied for the lead in the Northwoods League's North Division race. The winner claims sole possession of first-place.

Story By: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​