KALAMAZOO, MI – Tyler Drabick was the difference maker in tonight’s ballgame for Kalamazoo. He threw Kalamazoo’s first complete game of the year while only allowing 3 earned runs and 5 hits with 3 strikeouts. As Drabick approached 100 pitches entering the 9th, Coach Piechocki decided to keep the redshirt freshman from Kent State in the game, and it paid off for the Growlers. Drabick set the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders down in order in the 9th achieving his 3rd win of the season. This is Drabick’s 3rd straight quality start in a row, and it looks like he has found the consistency Kalamazoo is looking for from their starting pitchers.
On the other end, Fond du Lac starter, Zack Kesterson, was only able to go 3 innings tonight while allowing 5 hits, and 4 runs, although only 2 of those were earned. Kesterson struggled getting ahead in counts and consistently throwing strikes in the ballgame. Brady Nehring came in for relief of Kesterson and he did not fare much better against Growlers’ hitters as he allowed 4 earned runs in just 2 innings, and all 4 of those runs came in the 5th inning which essentially put the game away for Kalamazoo. The lone bright spot in the Dock Spider pitching staff was Tyler Hopman who threw 3 scoreless innings in relief.
Kalamazoo started the game hot at the plate as they put 2 runs on the board in the 1st inning thanks to a Connor Hollis RBI single and an error on Fond du Lac second basemen K.V. Edwards which plated a run. The scoring continued in the 2nd as Jack Duffy hit a monster 2-run homerun over the left field wall to increase the Growlers’ lead. The 5th inning was the deciding blow in the game as 4 runs were put on the board. The huge inning started with back-to-back walks to Connor Hollis and Matt Koehler. Next, Jason Sullivan and Mitch Bigras hit back-to-back RBI singles to push the score to 6-1. Finally, Ryan Orr’s 2-RBI single put a cap on the 5th inning.
Jack Duffy stood out on the offensive end for Kalamazoo tonight. He went 2-5 and he had arguably the biggest hit for the Growlers tonight which was a gigantic 2-run homerun. Jason Sullivan also had a great night at the plate going 2 for 3 with a RBI and a run scored. Sullivan has been in a slump of late and hopefully this last performance is a sign of things to come in the second half. For Fond du Lac, Brandon Wulff, and Eric Gilgenbach both had solo homeruns, which accounted for most of the Dock Spiders’ runs tonight. The only other RBI came from K.V. Edwards who hit a sac fly in the 2nd inning.
The Growlers continue their series against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders tomorrow at 3 PM EST. Mad Chad the Chainsaw Juggler will be in attendance as Homer Stryker Field hosts another Hungry Howie’s Friends and Family Day.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate 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, more than 180 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). 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.