A strong start and finish propelled Eau Claire to a 10-6 victory over the Waterloo Bucks in Northwoods League baseball action at Riverfront Stadium Monday night (July 11, 2016).

The Express scored four runs in the first inning and five in the ninth, while handing the Bucks just their fifth loss at home this season. They tallied half of their runs with two outs and had every starter record at least one hit on the night.

Taylor Boyd and Waterloo native Zach Fricke each had three hits to lead the Bucks' offense, but missed opportunities ultimately cost Waterloo. The Bucks had the tying run at the plate or on the bases for four consecutive innings, but they couldn’t even the score.

Eau Claire (3-2, 28-13) built a 5-0 lead before Waterloo could get on the board.

Back-to-back hits from Fricke and Matt Morrow led to Waterloo's first run in the third inning. Fricke and Matt Morrow started the frame with back-to-back hits. Fricke eventually scored on a ground out by Lane Milligan, cut Eau Claire's advantage to 5-1.

Waterloo (4-2, 26-15) cut the margin in half with a pair of runs in the fifth. Again, Fricke and Morrow started the inning with back-to-back singles and Boyd also added a single. Robert Neustrom then brought Fricke and Morrow home with a two-run single up the middle, which cut the Bucks' deficit to 5-3.

Eau Claire built a 10-3 edge with the five-run ninth inning. The margin proved to be too big for Waterloo overcome, despite a late rally. The Bucks tallied three runs in their half of the ninth following consecutive singles from Jake Hand, Boyd and Neustrom. Adam McGinnis drove in a run on a ground. Two batters later, Alex Boxwell connected for a two-run double.

Starting pitcher Steven Baker (1-2) suffered the loss for Waterloo. He allowed a season-high five runs (four earned) on seven hits, while striking out two and walking two.

UP NEXT: The Bucks are idle on Tuesday (July 12) before heading to Rochester for a modified doubleheader on Wednesday (July 13). The Bucks and Honkers have to complete their July 5th suspended game before playing their regularly scheduled contest.

Story Contributor: Jared Schlensky - Waterloo Bucks​