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Chinooks walk off again, sweep the Growlers on the road

Kalamazoo, Mich. – After Zac Taylor (Houston) hit a walk-off home run in the 13th inning of Game 1, Matt Johnson (North Dakota State) was the hero for the Chinooks in Game 2 of the series on Sunday. Johnson’s RBI sacrifice fly brought in Royce Ando (Michigan State) to give the Chinooks the win, 4-3, and the series sweep in the 11-inning affair.

Kalamazoo had a strong start to the game, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Back-to-back walks by Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) and Matt Lloyd (Iowa Western) to start off the inning set the table for Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana). Griggs would rope a single into left field to plate both Kopach and Lloyd for the early 2-0 lead.

Kalamazoo would hold a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Lakeshore manufactured a couple of runs to tie the game. Kevin Riley (Chaffey CC) sent a double into the gap to bring home two Chinooks to tie the game, 3-3.

For the second consecutive game and the third time in the last five games, the Growlers would go to extra innings. With the bases loaded and one out, Johnson sent a fly ball to center field. Ando tagged from third on the sacrifice fly to score the winning run.

The loss pushed the Growlers record in extra-inning games to 1-4 this season and are now 10-12 in the second half.

Lloyd had an RBI double in the fifth, his 11th double of the season. The University of Indiana commit now has an extra-base hit in four of his past six games played.

Zach Vitkuske (Muskegon CC) started the series finale against the Chinooks for the Growers and was spectacular until he was pulled in the eighth. The Brighton, Mich. native allowed three runs off four hits while striking out one. He entered the eighth inning with only one run credited to him but after walking the first two batters of the frame, Vitkuske was pulled and the Chinooks would plate those two runners to tie the game.

Kalamazoo (30-28) heads back home for a doubleheader with their I-94 rival, the Battle Creek Bombers. The last time these two faced off, it was a part of a home-and-home doubleheader in the first half which these two teams split with each other. Kevin Marnon (Ball State) is set to take the mound in Game 1, and Trey Ganns (Northern Kentucky) will be making the start for the Growlers in Game 2. First pitch is set for 11:05 a.m. from Homer Stryker Field.

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The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit  northwoodsleague.com/kalamazoo-growlers/ or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Growlers as your favorite team.