Express fall in series opener against Waterloo

Jun. 22—The Eau Claire Express scored one run in the ninth inning but weren't able to complete a comeback effort in a 2-1 road loss to the Waterloo Bucks on Monday.

Waterloo took an early 2-0 lead through two innings, first scoring on a Jalen Smith single in the first and then on a Johnny Tincher putout in the second. From there the Bucks rode strong pitching, getting five shutout innings from starter Ryan Duffy before three relievers came in for a scoreless inning each.

Eau Claire was finally able to solve the Bucks staff some in the ninth with a pair of hits and a walk against Braden Burcham. Omar Gastelum got on with a walk, then advanced to second on a Robert Hogan single and to third on a Connor Burns single. He made it home thanks to a wild pitch, but Garret Reisz hit into a putout with the tying run standing on third.

Burns and Hogan were the squad's only players with multiple hits, each getting a pair. Ben Shepard took the loss, allowing two earned runs in four and two thirds innings. He struck out one and walked three. Menomonie grad Jace Kressin went two and a third innings in relief, with his only blemish being a lone walk.

The Express and Bucks wrap up a quick two-game series at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday. Then Eau Claire will return for four straight, a doubleheader against Duluth on Wednesday and games against La Crosse on Thursday and Friday.