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Dunkelberger’s Six Strong Innings Not Enough in Loss to Bombers

KALAMAZOO, MI — Left handed pitcher Michael Dunkelberger threw six incredibly effective innings, but the Kalamazoo Growlers still dropped the Saturday night contest to the Battle Creek Bombers, 3-1.

The key for Dunkelberger going into his third start of the season was effectiveness and longevity, after not lasting beyond the first inning in either of his first two starts this season.

Dunkelberger immediately came out hitting his spots low in the strike zone. The Lipscomb commit cruised through the first two innings, striking out three and only allowing two baserunners.

In the third inning, Dunkelberger hit a bit of a rough patch – conceding a walk, single and hit by pitch to load the bases. A 2 RBI single from Mason Sykes gave Battle Creek the lead, but there was no further damage.

Dunkelberger went right back to dealing on the bump, finishing by only allowing three hits, three walks, and the two earned runs while striking out seven.

Unfortunately, offense was hard to come by for Kalamazoo. Newly named Northwoods League All-Star Burrell Jones started on the hill for Battle Creek. He certainly looked the part, striking out nine through six innings. Jones lone mistake was a 1-2 pitch that caught the plate and was crushed to right field by Luke Storm for a solo home run. Storm’s second long ball of the summer would be the Growlers’ only offense of the night.

It was a solid night for the Growlers bullpen. Luke Scoles inherited a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh with two outs after a run came home on a wild pitch. Scoles stranded the bases loaded and went on to pitch a scoreless top of the eighth. Braden Forsyth pitched a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, striking out two en route to his ninth consecutive shutout outing.

Despite the success of the Kalamazoo pitchers, the offense could just not get going against the Bombers’ relievers. Both Zach Williams and Davis Burgin combined to record the last nine outs of the ball game for the Battle Creek staff.

The loss drops the Growlers to 15-25 on the season. Kalamazoo still holds a 5-2 edge in this season’s installment of the I-94 Rivalry Cup.

The Growlers can get one step closer to the cup, in addition to their first win of the second half, tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. ET.