The Waterloo Bucks extended their winning streak to three games by beating the struggling Thunder Bay Border Cats, 9-8, at Riverfront Stadium Sunday afternoon (June 19, 2016).

The series sweep was Waterloo's fourth of the season and improved the Bucks' record to 9-0 in the last game of each series. Waterloo (14-5) also entered Monday's scheduled off-day with the best record in the Northwoods League and a one-game edge over second-place St. Cloud in the North Division standings.

On Sunday, Shane Shepard gave Thunder Bay an early 1-0 lead with a two-out solo home run to-left centerfield in the first inning.

Waterloo, however, answered with a pair of runs in the third. Robert Neustrom reached base on a fielder’s choice, then Daniel Perry singled and Taylor Boyd drew a walk to load the bases. Two batters later, Lane Milligan gave the Bucks their first lead of the day with a two-out, two-run single to center, scoring both Neustrom and Perry.

Thunder Bay (1-18) regained the lead with four runs in the sixth inning. An Andy Weber single followed by a Shepard walk put Border Cats' runners on first and second before Andrew Fregia cranked a three-run home run to leftfield, his second blast in the last two games. Thunder Bay extended its lead to 5-2 on Rob Andreoli’s RBI double down the left field line, bringing around Mitch Bigras from first base.

Source: Waterloo Bucks

Waterloo tied the game at 5-5 by plating three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Tyler Curtis started the frame with a single to left, then moved to second when Alex Boxwell singled. Zach Weatherford trimmed the Thunder Bay lead to two with an RBI double to left-center, scoring Curtis. Neustrom followed with a two-out, two-run single up the middle, plating both Boxwell and Weatherford.

The Border Cats jumped back in front with a run in the seventh. Three straight singles from Bobby Honeyman, Weber and Shepard loaded the bases before Joe Gellenbeck's sacrifice fly to rightfield made the score 7-6.

Waterloo quickly countered with four runs in the seventh inning. A one-out walk from Milligan, followed by another single from Curtis, gave the Bucks runners at first and second before Adam McGinnis delivered a towering three-run home run, his team-leading third of the season. Boxwell followed McGinnis with a triple to right-center before Neustrom brought him in on an RBI groundout to the left side, giving the Bucks a 9-6 advantage.

Pinch-hitter Robert Boselli cut the Bucks’ lead to two with an RBI groundout in the eighth before Joe Gellenbeck’s RBI single in the ninth made it 9-8.

Jonathan Buckley (1-0) recorded the win in his first home appearance on the year. Buckley yielded one run on a hit and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. Nate Spielvogel earned his first hold after retiring both hitters he faced in the eighth.

Brandon Downey secured the win with his league-leading sixth save of the year. Downey allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out a pair. The unearned run in the ninth ended Downey’s consecutive scoreless innings streak at 13.

Ben Hoffman (0-2) suffered the loss in relief for Thunder Bay, which tied a dubious Northwoods League record when it opened the season with 15-straight losses. Hoffman allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in one inning.

UP NEXT: After an off-day on Monday (June 20), the Bucks begin a six-game road trip with the first of two games at St. Cloud on Tuesday.

Story By: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​