The Waterloo Bucks opened their seven-game road trip with an 11-3 setback at Eau Claire Tuesday night (June 23, 2015).

Weston Hatten (Washington St.) hit his second long ball of the year for Waterloo (16-13) while Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) collected two hits in the losing decision. Joe Martinson (Minnesota) was a bright spot on the mound for the Bucks, completing 2 2/3 frames of one-run relief. Despite the 11 runs allowed, the Waterloo pitching staff recorded 13 strikeouts on the night.

Early offensive chances marked the start of the game with Eau Claire (12-16) pushing four across in the bottom of the third. Joe Gillette (Oregon St.) plated Kyle Marinconz (Cal Poly) with a double off the wall in left field to put the Express in front, 1-0. Then, Brady Burzynski (UW-Stout) hit a base-clearing double to shallow left field to make it a 4-0 advantage.

Carson McPherson (2-2) (Murray St. College) bowed out of the action after 2 2/3 innings as the Waterloo starter. The southpaw surrendered four runs on seven hits while striking out six and walking three in the loss.

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Charlie Naso, Jr. (Illinois) took over for the Bucks to end the third and exited after allowing two hits in the fourth. A three-run homerun off the bat of Gillette and a base on balls ended Naso’s night too soon in the frame.

After Gillette made it a 7-0 lead for the Express with one swing of the bat, Martinson entered for Waterloo out of the bullpen with one out in the inning.

Martinson finished the fourth and tossed his way to the sixth inning, giving up one run on two hits along with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Buck got on the board in the top of the seventh when Hatten blasted his second homerun of the year over the left field wall. Taylor Lane (Florida) opened the inning by reaching on an error at third base, and scored on Hatten’s homer to make it an 8-2 deficit.

Mitchel Babb (Ole Miss) tossed a scoreless, hitless inning in relief in the seventh while striking out one in his Northwoods League debut.

Tyler Selesky (Florida Gulf Coast) scored from second base on a pass ball that rolled to the Waterloo dugout in the eighth to bring the game closer, 8-3.

Ryan McCourt (Coffeyville CC) picked up the ball in the bottom of the eighth for the Bucks and suffered a three-run homerun off the bat of Travone Benton (New Mexico JC) in the inning. The right-hander struck out the side in his first appearance for the Bucks on the year.

Waterloo continues the road tour with the Express at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Carson Park in Eau Claire. Then, the Bucks travel to both Willmar and Thunder Bay for two different two-game series before returning to Waterloo for an off-day on June 29.

The Bucks finish their seven-game trip with a 12:05 p.m. game at Rochester on June 30. Following the game at Mayo Field, the two teams will drive to Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo to conclude the day-night, split site twin bill at 7:05 p.m. The two games with Rochester mark the first two contests in the SCHEELS Highway 63 Cup this season.

During the nightcap on June 30, the Bucks will giveaway sets of team baseball cards. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a Bucks Baseball Team Card Set, presented by Bill’s Pizza & Smokehouse of Independence.

It will also be a Two For Tuesday promotion Follow the Bucks on Facebook or their email newsletter for a buy one ticket get one FREE offer for Tuesday home games. One lucky fan will win a pair of Minnesota Twins tickets given away at every Tuesday home game.

Tickets are available at waterloobucks.com. You can also visit the Bucks Ticket Office at Riverfront Stadium or call (319)-232-5633. Bucks’ games are broadcast live on waterloobucks.com.

Story By: Matt Gruemmer