Holding a 2-0 lead through six innings, the Waterloo Bucks surrendered three runs in both the seventh and eighth frames to fall to the Willmar Stingers, 6-3, at Riverfront Stadium Thursday night.

Doug Hayes (4-3) (Illinois) took the loss out of the bullpen, allowing all six runs to cross on five hits in 1 2/3 frames of relief. The Bucks mustered one late score in the eighth, but could not complete the comeback as Brady Anderson (Florida Gulf Coast) shut down the bats for his 13th consecutive save of the year for Willmar.

Tyler Day (Stephen F. Austin) took the tough no-decision for Waterloo (29-17/10-9) after stymieing Willmar's batting order for no runs and five hits over six innings on the mound. The all-star break had no effect on Tyler Selesky’s (Florida Gulf Coast) smoldering bat as the hitter scored twice and compiled three hits in the loss. Taylor Boyd (St. Joseph’s) led an eccentric Waterloo defense, recording the first out of three phenomenal double plays throughout the contest.

Waterloo Bucks

The Bucks took an early 2-0 lead off Willmar starting pitcher Zach Strecker (5-2) (Kentucky) with two hits in the first inning. After a leadoff single by Selesky, Mikal Hill roped a run-scoring triple down the right field line. Two at-bats later, Jonah Bride (Neosho County CC) notched his first RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to right to plate Hill.

A pitcher’s duel ensued over the next five frames as both starting hurlers settled in on the hill. Strecker took his fourth consecutive winning decision after yielding one run and nine hits to Waterloo over eighth innings on the rubber.

With his pitch count starting to rise, Day ended his start following six innings of shutout baseball. The right-hander sent down five Stingers on strikes while giving up five hits in his no-decision outing.

Hayes took the ball in the seventh and allowed the first three men to score after he hit Storm Wilson (Kentucky) with a pitch. Lucas Tancas (Irvine Valley) and Troy Dixon (St. John’s) scored along with the hit batsman to give the Stingers their first lead, 3-2.

In the eighth, a lead-off hit by pitch followed by a Reagan Fowler (Creighton) single and an error by Taylor Lane (Florida) at third base gave Willmar (35-18/12-7) the eventual winning scores to make it a 6-2 contest.

Andrew Davis (Barton) made his Bucks’ debut in the top of the eighth and sent down all four hitters he faced out of the bullpen. The fresh lefty held the Stingers scoreless over 1 1/3 innings in the eighth and ninth.

Zach McKinstry (Central Michigan) singled in the bottom of the eighth and forced an errant throw with Selesky aboard to move him into scoring position. After Bride sent a ground ball to second base with one out, Selesky crossed the plate to make it 6-3.

Waterloo could not muster a comeback in the bottom of the ninth as Anderson sent them down 1-2-3 for his 13th save of the season.

The Bucks continue their three-game home stand with game two of the series against Willmar Friday at 7:05 p.m. The game marks another Flat Screen Friday where fans ages 18 and older can register to win one of three 32" flat screen TVs that will be given away.

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