BATTLE CREEK, Mi. – The Kalamazoo Growlers defeated the Battle Creek Bombers 9-2 Tuesday night at C.O. Brown Stadium in the series opener.
A four-run, two out rally in the top of the fourth inning propelled the Growlers to their third win of the second half. They now stand at 3-4 in the second half and 27-15 overall on the season.
The four run rally began with a Jonathan Foster soft single to left field then a Matt Mervis single to right. Baron Radcliff followed with run double to left field to give the Growlers a 2-1 lead. Sam Crail drove home Radcliff with an RBI single of his own, then Jason Sullivan notched a hard single to right field. The inning finished one batter later when Brendan Rivoli singled to left field. Crail was able to score on the play but Sullivan was thrown out trying to advance to third to end the inning.
Battle Creek responded in the bottom of the fifth on a Zach Gartner RBI single to make the score 4-2.
The Growlers had another crooked number on the score board in the sixth inning. Mervis started the scoring with his third home run of the year on a ball to dead center field. Sullivan and Rivoli also added RBI’s in the frame.
Kalamazoo padded their lead again in the ninth on another Sullivan RBI single. The final run of the ball game came in the top of the ninth when Mervis drove home his second run of the day on an RBI single.
Tyler Drabick made his season debut for the Growlers on the mound after pitching for them in the 2018 season. He went five innings allowing two earned runs, walking two Bombers and striking out one.
Andrew Belcik and Luke Boyd both threw two innings of scoreless relief for the Growlers to finish the game. Belcik worked the sixth and seventh inning, giving up three hits with a walk and a strikeout. Boyd pitched the eighth and ninth without allowing a base runner and striking out two batters.
The Growlers return to action tomorrow to take on the Bombers at Homer Stryker Field with a chance to clinch the 2018 I-94 Rivalry for the first time since the Growlers were created.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.