The Waterloo Bucks started the second-half of their Northwoods League schedule with 6-2 victory at Duluth Wednesday night (July 7, 2016).

The Bucks scored all of their runs in the first five innings and got a strong performance from starting pitcher Steven Baker (1-1), who struck out five and allowed just four hits and a walk while throwing a season-high 6.2 innings. At one point, he retired 11-straight batters. Baker recorded his first win of the season and helped to keep the Huskies (0-1, 18-19) scoreless until the eighth inning.

The victory was the third in a row for Waterloo (1-0, 23-13), which ended the North Division's first-half race in a third-place with Mankato. Both teams ended up 2.5 games behind championship Eau Claire and full games behind St. Cloud, which finished in second-place .

The Bucks put up a two-spot in the first inning, following a lead-off double by Lane Milligan. Taylor Boyd brought Milligan in with an RBI single to right field. Boyd then stole second and third and scored on Adam McGinnis’ sacrifice fly to right.

The Bucks extended their lead to 3-0 with an unearned run in the second. Alex Boxwell reached on the first of two errors by shortstop Liam Sabino to begin the inning. Brody Weiss followed Boxwell with a single to center, moving Boxwell up to third. Matt Morrow then reached on Sabino's second error of the inning, allowing Boxwell to score from third.

Waterloo increased its lead to 5-0 with two more runs in the third. McGinnis pulled a double down the left field line to begin the inning, then advanced to third on Robert Neustrom's groundout to the right side of the field. Zach Weatherford was then hit by pitch, putting runners at the corners. McGinnis slid in safely at home on a passed ball, and Weatherford scored from second when Brody Weiss singled to center field.

The Bucks added their final run in the fifth inning. McGinnis and Jake Hand drew back-to-back walks before Alex Boxwell singled to load the bases. Weiss followed Boxwell with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring McGinnis from third.

UP NEXT: Waterloo continues its five-game road trip on Thursday (July 7), when the Bucks play the finale of their two-game series against Duluth.

Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​