Bus troubles had the Waterloo Bucks rolling into Carson Park just a half hour before the first pitch Wednesday night, but it was Eau Claire who looked like they could have used some extra time to warm up.
The Express surrendered seven unearned runs and had five errors in a 10-8 loss to the visiting Bucks.
“We made some good plays, we just couldn’t throw the ball across the infield,” manager Dale Varsho said. “We need to field the ball better, it was one of those games we just had a lapse, and one bad inning, which is how we’ve lost all our games this year.”
The Express drew first blood on a two-run single to left field by Drew Turbin, bringing around Brady Burzynski and Mike Porcaro to score. Tyler Hermann added a run before the end of the inning when a throw from catcher Zach Soria soared into left field as Hermann stole third, allowing the Eau Claire native to come home.
But that lead quickly disappeared in the top of the third. Holding onto a 3-1 lead, pitcher Aron McRee gave up a leadoff single to Pat McKenzie.
In the next at-bat, McRee’s throw fielding Jon McAllister’s sacrifice bunt was late and a Waterloo run came across. McAllister would tie the game two batters later when he was batted home on a grounder.
The inning snowballed quickly when first baseman Jack Zoellner snagged a hot grounder but overthrew his mark, and the Bucks took their first lead. Will Sparks slapped a two-run single to left field in the next at bat and Waterloo extended its lead to 6-3, ending McRee’s night.
McRee took the loss, giving up six hits, six runs — one earned — walking one and striking out one in three innings of work.
Waterloo scored three more runs in the next two innings to take a commanding 9-4 lead, but Eau Claire showed signs of life in the bottom of the seventh.
Porcaro got on base on a walk, and a pair of singles from Daniel Salters and Hermann loaded the bases. Turbin grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Porcaro, and Salters came home on relief pitcher Nick Veale’s wild pitch, which ended his night. Logan Sherer’s first pitch out of the pen bounced to the backstop and Turbin crossed the plate.
“We battled a little bit harder, we concentrated a little bit more and got some good counts to hit,” Varsho said of the rally that came up short.
The Express (11-10) will get another shot at Waterloo at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
Notes: Eau Claire Memorial grad Brady Burzynski had a strong night at the plate, hitting 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. … The win was the 99th of Waterloo manager Travis Kiewiet’s career. He’ll go for 100 tonight against the Express.
BUCKS 10, EXPRESS 8
AB-R-H-RBI: Pat Mackenzie, 2b, 4-2-2-0; Jon McAllister, lf, 3-1-0-0; John Sternagel, 3b, 3-2-2-0; AJ Puk, dh, 5-0-1-1; Zach Soria, c, 4-1-0-0; Connor McClain, rf, 5-2-1-0; Will Sparks, cf, 4-2-2-1; Ryan Nagle, 1b, 5-0-1-1; Luke Stratman, ss, 4-0-0-0; Drasen Johnson, p, 0-0-0-0; Nick Veale, p, 0-0-0-0; Logan Sherer, p, 0-0-0-0; Adam Dian, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 37-10-9-3.
EAU CLAIRE (8)
Brady Burzynski, cf, 4-2-3-1; Mike Porcaro, dh, 2-2-1-0; Daniel Salters, c, 3-1-1-1; Tyler Hermann, rf, 4-1-2-0; Drew Turbin, 2b, 5-1-2-3; Mike Barajas, lf, 4-0-0-0; Jack Zoellner, 1b, 4-0-0-0; Brent Gibbs, 3b, 3-1-1-0; Peter Van Gansen, ss, 4-0-0-0; Aron McRee, p, 0-0-0-0; Taylor Duree, p, 0-0-0-0; Orlando Meza, p, 0-0-0-0. Totals 33-8-10-5.
Waterloo 015 120 010 — 10 9 1
EC 300 100 310 — 8 10 5
E — Soria; Turbin, Zoellner 2, Van Gansen, McRee. LOB — Waterloo 8, Eau Claire 8. 2B — Mackenzie, Sparks. SB — Turbin CS — Hermann, Gibbs. SAC — Salters.
Waterloo IP H R ER BB SO
Johnson, W 5 6 4 4 5 5
Veale 1q 2 3 3 2 2
Sherer 13 2 1 1 0 1
Dian, S 1 0 0 0 0 2
McRee, L 3 6 6 1 1 1
Duree 13 2 3 1 0 1
Meza 4q 1 1 1 1 4
WP — Johnson 3, Veale 2, Sherer 4; McRee, Duree 2.