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Battery Pair of Ballestero, Krkovski Power Growlers to Second Straight Win

KOKOMO, IN — Even two rain delays couldn’t slow down Luke Krkovski and the Kalamazoo Growlers on Monday night, as they dominated the Kokomo Jackrabbits, 9-2. This was Kalamazoo’s second consecutive win in the second half. The Growlers were in control from the opening pitch, against a team they had only one win against prior to Monday evening.

The Growlers offense also got off the snide on Monday. After struggling against starting pitching for most of the second half, the bats did no such thing against Jackrabbits left hander Micah Wallette. Kalamazoo greeted Wallette with three runs in the first two innings, coming off four hits.  David Coppedge registered an RBI double, while Nolan McCarthy had an RBI single.

However, it’s worth noting the top of the second inning was completed in two separate intervals, after a rain delay of about 30 minutes caused a pause a Kokomo Municipal Stadium due to torrential downpours. Once Wallette retired the end man, the skies opened up again, leading to another small five minute delay. This meant Krkovski, Kalamazoo’s starter, would have to wait about an hour to take the hill again after a scoreless bottom of the first inning.

While some pitchers would have struggled with such a layoff, Krkovski certainly did not. Following just a lone single in the first inning, the Australian didn’t allow a second Jackrabbits hit until the sixth. He stayed aggressive with the fastball and generated plenty of weak contact.

Krkovski ended the evening with seven innings of one run baseball, with the only Kokomo run coming via a sacrifice fly in the fourth. He also struck out three and only allowed three hits. After allowing four runs and six walks a week ago at the same venue, the Australian bounced back with his longest outing of the season.

The Growlers bats got into the Jackrabbits bullpen early, but failed to capitalize on chances to add insurance early. It was 3-1 Growlers in the top of the seventh when that insurance finally came through. After getting his first Growlers hit in his previous at bat, catcher Tate Ballestero came up with with the bases loaded. He ripped a single to right field, scoring both McCarthy and Luke Storm, extending Kalamazoo’s lead to 5-1. The Growlers would go on to add one more in the seventh, before three more came around to score in the eighth, continuing to hit the ball hard and take advantage of Kokomo miscues.

It was certainly a great night for Ballestero, who called a fantastic game behind the plate in addition to having a breakthrough night at the plate.

Southpaw Nicolas Lopez collected the last six outs for Kalamazoo. A late run came home for the Jackrabbits on another sac fly, but it was not enough to blemish Kalamazoo’s fantastic evening.

The Growlers move to 17-26 on the season, with a chance to sweep the first place Jackrabbits tomorrow night at 6:30 ET.