A fourth-inning hiccup and a pair of late runs cost the Eau Claire Express who fell 8-5 to the Waterloo Bucks on Saturday in Waterloo.
The Express put up runs in the first and second innings, but after starter Alec Baker was chased to open the fourth, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
Baker had allowed just one run and no hits, but he had walked seven batters and his pitch count was climbing, forcing manager Dale Varsho to turn to his bullpen.
Tim Ewald came in to open the fourth, but couldn’t record an out, walking a pair. Dylan Villalobos followed and couldn’t escape the jam, leading to five Bucks runs in the inning.
Eau Claire put up two runs in the fifth inning, when Phillip Sikes’ double to left cashed in Matt Bottcher and Brock Burton. The Express pulled to within one on the hit, but that was as close as they’d come.
The Bucks added a run in the sixth and an unearned run off Noah Denoyer in the seventh to put away the Express.
Matt Bottcher went 4 for 5 in the game with a pair of runs and a RBI. He is now hitting .424 on the season. Sikes finished the day with a pair of hits, to increase hit batting average to .339.
Waterloo 8, Eau Claire 5
Eau Claire 110 120 000 0 — 5 9 1
Waterloo 001 501 110 x — 8 9 2
WP: Brett Lockwood (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). LP: Tim Ewald (0 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K). Leading hitters — Eau Claire: Matt Bottcher 4-5 (2 R, RBI, 2B), Phillip Sikes 2-4 (2 RBI, 2B). Waterloo: Blake Berry 1-4 (2 R, 3 RBI, HR), Tony Jenkins 2-3 (2 R).
Records: Eau Claire 14-13. Waterloo 14-13