KALAMAZOO, M.I.- What started as a pitchers duel turned into a high-scoring affair as the Bombers were able to defeat the Growlers 7-4 Tuesday night.
The Bombers were led on offense by Cristian Tejada who went 3-4 out of the lead-off spot, driving in two runs as well as scoring two of his own. Two of his three hits were RBI singles with one coming in the fifth and one coming in the eighth which made it 7-2.
The game started as a pitchers duel between two power-throwing righties. Sean Hoey and Adam Wheaton went toe-to-toe through the first four innings until the Bombers finally broke Wheaton in the fifth.
Battle Creek scored two off the Growlers ace on back-to-back RBI singles by Tejada and Roman Kuntz. The hits forced Wheaton out of the game with runners on the corners. The Growlers brought in Taylor Perrett to try and settle things down. But that did not change the Bombers plans on offense. After allowing a fielder’s choice and hitting a batter, TJ McCormick welcomed Perrett to the game with a two-run single which made it 4-0. McCormick would then get in a rundown allowing Nick Powell to score to make it 5-0.
Along with scoring on the McCormick single in the fifth, he scored a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Trevor Patterson which made it 6-2.
Wheaton, who came into the night leading the Northwoods League in strikeouts with 56, and came in third in the league in ERA at 2.26 lasted just 4.1 innings allowing three runs on five hits striking out four.
It was the opposite story for Hoey on the mound who threw five scoreless innings giving up just four hits striking out four while also walking three.
The three walks issued by Hoey all came in the second inning which led to the Growlers biggest threat off the Bombers starter. Hoey walked the bases loaded with one out but was able to leave them loaded as he got a strikeout of Don Goodes and a groundout by Luke Storm.
Kalamazoo did threaten against the Bombers bullpen in the sixth. Zach Dehn entered after Hoey and let up a single and two walks before being pulled for Brady Held. Held got two outs before Storm doubled in two runs before getting Jake Gelof to fly out to right field.
Storm paced the Kalamazoo offense going 3-5 with three RBI. He singled in a run off Held in the eighth to make it 7-4. The single was part of the Growlers two-run eighth as they tried to crawl back into the game. The Growlers had runners on first and third with two outs looking to keep chipping away. But Held settled down as he left the runners on, getting Nolan McCarthy to ground out to retire the side.
Held was able to hold to fort for the Bombers out of the bullpen. He tossed the final four innings giving up two runs on five hits striking out four.
With the series sweep by the Bombers, it was the first time Battle Creek has swept a two-game series since taking two in Kokomo on Jun. 10 and Jun. 11. The Bombers improve to 20-35 overall and 7-14 in the second half. The Growlers fall to 22-34 overall and 7-13 in the second half. The Bombers will be off tomorrow and will resume play on Thursday at C.O. Brown Stadium against the Kokomo Jackrabbits at 6:35 p.m.
Written by Harris Eisenberg