By: Ari Ross, Broadcaster
The Battle Creek Bombers fought back from a 9-5 deficit to top the Kalamazoo Growlers, 12-10 to clinch a series victory in the I-94 Crosstown Rivalry series, presented by the OnStaffGroup.
The Bombers would take the early lead in the top of the first inning as with the bases loaded, Daniel Patzlaff, who reached on a leadoff walk, scored on a wild pitch to give the Bombers an early 1-0 lead.
But the Growlers would strike back in the bottom of the inning to tie the game, as Matt Lloyd walked and came around to score on Jay Smith's single to tie the game up at one. Smith though, would be thrown out by Nick Podkul trying to stretch his single into a double, and the Bombers and Growlers would head to the second tied at one.
Eric Gilgenbach extended the Bombers' lead to 2-1 with his solo shot in the second, before Battle Creek would take a 4-1 lead in the third.
Storm Joop led off the inning with a walk, moving to third on Dean Miller's double, before Podkul's single knocked in Joop and Miller to extend the Bombers' lead to three.
But the Growlers would get to Bombers' starter Austin Nazabal for four in the third to take the lead. A single and a hit by pitch surrendered by Nazabal put runners at first and second before Lloyd's RBI single cut the Bombers' lead to 4-3. But the Growlers weren't done there as Nick Hutchins' two-run blast gave the Growlers a 5-4 lead.
Miller knocked in Gilgenbach from second on an RBI single in the top of the fourth to tie the game up at five, but the Growlers would put up another four-spot in the bottom of fourth to take a 9-5 lead.
Camden Duzenack and David Hensley drew back-to-back walks, forcing the Bombers to go to the bullpen and Edgar Sanchez, but a one-out double by Connor Smith, followed by back-to-back singles from Connor Copack and Lloyd gave the Growlers the 9-5 lead.
But the Bombers would battle back to tie things up in the top of the seventh, as Gilgenbach continued his monster day at the plate. Miller led off the inning with a walk, moving to second on Podkul's single. After Daniel Jipping's groundout advanced the runners 90 feet, Miller came home on a wild pitch to start the seventh inning rally.
Cody Sporrer's RBI groundout made it a 9-7 ballgame before Gilgenbach tied things up with his second home run of the day, this time a two-run shot to deep left with Cody Young on first. Gilgenbach finished his monster day going 3 for 4 with two home runs, three runs scored and three RBIs.
The Bombers bullpen kept the Growlers quiet after the fourth as Sanchez and David Inman combined to allow just two runs over 6.0 innings pitched before Battle Creek would take their first lead since third in the top of the ninth.
Jipping worked a walk to leadoff the ninth before Sporrer was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Jacob Blunt, pinch hitting for Young, laid down a picture-perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners 90 feet. With first base open, the Growlers opted to intentionally walk Gilgenbach to load the bases.
A wild pitch gave the Bombers a 10-9 lead, scoring Jipping from third base before Daniel Patzlaff's two-run single cleared the bases and gave the Bombers a 12-9 lead.
Brandon Gomez' solo shot with two down in the bottom of the ninth cut the Bombers' lead to 12-10, but Inman would strike out Duzenack to nail down the victory.
Inman picks up the win for the Bombers who move to 30-28 on the season, 12-10 in the second half, while the Growlers fall to 30-29 and 10-13 in the second half.
Battle Creek will take on the Growlers in game two of the home-and-home doubleheader, Monday night at 7:05 at C.O. Brown Stadium, sending Chi-Ping Wu to the hill.