KALAMAZOO, MI – Dakota Roberts (KVCC) made his first start in a Growlers uniform tonight and did not disappoint. Roberts went 7 magnificent innings only allowing 5 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 3 Wisconsin Woodchucks hitters. Roberts was coming off an appearance out of the bullpen where he threw 4 innings allowing only 1 earned run, which gave Coach Piechocki confidence to give the right-handed sophomore the start against Wisconsin. Roberts threw first pitch strikes much of the ballgame, which helped set up his magnificent curveball that constantly baffled Wisconsin batters. Roberts kept the ball in the zone, not allowing a walk in the ballgame, and let his defense work behind him.
Joey Knapp entered the game in the 8th and pitched a scoreless inning. Andrew Huff relieved Knapp and shut the door on the Woodchucks in the 9th earning his 2nd save in as many tries.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks starting pitcher, Korey Rasure, left the game after 6 strong innings of work. In those 6 innings Rasure gave up 2 earned runs on 7 hits. Up until the 5th inning Rasure seemed to be in control of the game as he had not allowed a run, and Kalamazoo’s offense did not seem like they could get anything going against Rasure. This changed in the 5th as a leadoff walk to Anthony Rios jump-started the Growlers’ offense. Rios eventually reached 3rd with 2 outs as he was bunted over by LA Woodard, then moved to 3rd with a sac fly by Connor Hollis. With Rios on 3rd Rasure gave up the first run of the game on a balk. Wisconsin was able to tie the game up in the next half inning, and Rasure started the 6th by getting the 1st out. Andrew Huff started the 6th inning rally by smacking a double into the left field corner, however, Rasure struck out Michael Diffely to get the 2nd out of the inning and it seemed that Kalamazoo might not be able to take the lead in the 6th. The Growlers’ did not leave the 6th inning empty handed as back to back RBI singles by Stephen Dubb and Matt Schwarz pushed Kalamazoo’s lead to 3-1, a lead the Growlers’ would not give back to Wisconsin. Jason Sullivan scored on a wild pitch in the 8th to put the final insurance run on the board for Kalamazoo, and the game went final the next half inning as the Growlers defeated the Wisconsin Woodchucks 4-1.
Kalamazoo was led offensively by Andrew Huff who went 2-3 with a run scored and a ginormous double that started the 6th inning rally that eventually won the game for Kalamazoo. Stephen Dubb also had a nice night at the plate as he was 2-4 with a RBI. Dubb’s RBI with 2 outs in the 6th inning essentially won the game for Kalamazoo. On the other end, Stevie Mangrum carried the Wisconsin offense. The Woodchuck’s did not have much going against Growlers’ pitching in tonight’s game, however, Mangrum had a respectable game as he went 2 for 3 with a stolen base.
Kalamazoo will finish a brief two-game homestand against the Wisconsin Woodchucks tomorrow at Homer Stryker Field with first pitch scheduled at 3:05 PM for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Day presented by Denooyer Chevrolet.
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.