Bucks Offense Explodes Against Thunder Bay [Video]
A combination of timely hitting and solid pitching led the Waterloo Bucks to a 9-1 home victory over Thunder Bay at Riverfront Stadium Tuesday night (June 9, 2015).
On the mound, Western Illinois' Preston Church (2-0) was magnificent over six innings, allowing one run on four hits while compiling seven strikeouts. The Waterloo bullpen went three scoreless frames and gave up just three hits on the night.
The offense shined throughout the game, as the Bucks collected a season-high 16 hits. Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) went 3-for-4 and pushed his hitting streak to seven games.
Alex Boxwell (Minnesota) also got in on the action with four singles. He was named Northwoods League Player of the Night for his effort.
Luke Stratman (Lamar CC) started the offensive performance for Waterloo, leading off the bottom of the first inning with his second homerun of the season -- a solo shot that hit the scoreboard in right-center field. Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) walked in the next at-bat and later scored on Boxwell's shallow single to right, putting the Bucks ahead 2-0.
Alan Baldwin (Hawaii) scored the lone Thunder Bay run in the third inning after receiving a two-out walk. Grant McKown (Florida Tech) singled him in during the following sequence to make it a 2-1 score.
The Bucks’ bats grabbed three more in the bottom of the third when Boyd, McKinstry and Boxwell each scored following consecutive singles to open the frame. Mikal Hill (Winston-Salem St.) plated two teammates with the inning’s fourth single, opening Waterloo advantage to 4-1. Matthew Stemper (Minnesota) then drove in fellow Golden Gopher Boxwell with a centerfield-sacrifice fly, putting the Bucks up 5-1.
Four former Bucks players were selected by Major League Baseball teams on Tuesday. To read the story, click HERE.
Stratman opened the bottom of the sixth with a single up the middle, and crossed the plate on a Boxwell run-scoring single that hit the Thunder Bay pitcher square in the back. The lone run stretched Waterloo’s advantage, 6-1, heading to the seventh.
Nick Veale (Minnesota St.) toed the rubber in the seventh and gave up just one hit in his single outing of relief. The right-hander struck out one on the night to move his team-best number of punchouts to 16.
Three more runs crossed for the Bucks after the seventh-inning stretch to widen the gap, 9-1. Stratman’s third hit of the night, a single to right field, brought in Stemper for the first score while Weston Hatten (Washington St.) joined the run club after crossing on a Boyd sacrifice fly to deep right. McKinstry, then, rifled a triple down the line in right to bring in Stratman for the eight-run lead.
The Bucks utilized single shutout frames from Landon Busch (South Dakota St.) and Zach Reeg (Augustana) in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to seal the 9-1 victory. Busch allowed two hits in his scoreless relief outing while Reeg struck out two in his hitless ninth on the mound.
The victory was Waterloo's 17th in the last 18 games against Thunder Bay, including 10-straight at home in the series. The Border Cats' last win at Riverfront Stadium was a 12-11, 10-inning decision on July 13, 2012.
The Bucks close their home series with Thunder Bay on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. US Bank is presenting a Big Bucks Cash promotion, with a total of $500 given away to fans 18 and older at the main gate. The top cash prize is $100.
There will also be a post-game fireworks extravaganza, which marks the kick-off to "My Waterloo Days". Fans wearing a "My Waterloo Days" button gets $1 off on their admission cost.
Tickets are available at waterloobucks.com. Visit the Bucks ticket office at Riverfront Stadium or call 319-232-5633.
Story By: Matt Gruemmer