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Published On: June 4th, 2015

WAUSAU, WI – Down to their last three outs, the Kalamazoo Growlers turned on the power as Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) and Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) socked ninth-inning home runs to rocket the Growlers past the Wisconsin Woodchucks 11-9 at Athletic Park in Wausau.

Down 9-6 in the top of the ninth, Fletcher came up against Woodchucks closer Ryan Day (Duke) with two on and one out. He then lifted an 0-1 fastball from over the left field fence for a three-run shot, his second of the season, tying the game at 9-9. Two batters later with Kory Young (Michigan State) on first, took a hanging curveball and deposited it over the wall in right center to give the Growlers an 11-9 lead.

From there, Matt Frawley (Purdue) would come in and slam the door for his second save, securing the win for Nathan Coakley (St. Francis, 1-0), who tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Day (0-1) took the blown save and the loss after giving up five runs.

Yarnall1_SizedThe Growlers (2-7) scored two runs in the top of the third inning to open the scoring off of two singles from Charles Leblanc (Pittsburgh) and John Soteropulos (California). Kory Brown (Bowling Green) followed with a bunt which was fielded and thrown away by Woodchucks pitcher Simon Mathews (Georgetown) as he attempted to get Leblanc on a force out at third base. This allowed Leblanc and Soteropulos to come around to score as Brown took second.

The Woodchucks (3-4) responded in the bottom of the inning. Growlers starter Gabe Gunter (Shelton State/Marshall) got two quick groundouts to his second baseman Kory Young (Michigan State), but the Woodchucks would string together two consecutive singles followed by a walk to load the bases. The next batter for Wisconsin would walk to score the first run and bring Jared Oliva (Arizona) to the plate. Gunter threw Oliva a 2-1 fastball over the heart of the plate which Oliva sent over the center field wall for a grand slam to make it 5-2 in his first game as a Woodchuck.

Soteropulos led off the fifth with a double into the right center gap, his second hit of the ballgame. Brown then reached on an error by the second baseman Nick Gotta (Northwest Missouri State), and Fletcher followed with a single to score Soteropulos. Following a sacrifice bunt by Young, Yarnall grounded a ball to second base to plate Brown.

Wisconsin would tack on one more run in the fifth inning but they would go back to the well for another big inning in the sixth. L.J. Hatch (Johnson County Community College) started with a single, then after an error, Max Ponzurick (Virginia Tech) sent a deep shot over the center field wall for the Woodchucks second home run of the game to make it 9-4.

The Growlers would score two runs in the top of the eighth inning to cut the deficit to three, setting up the wild ninth.

Fletcher led the way for the Growlers with four RBIs, and Yarnall drove in three of the Growlers’ season-high 11 runs. Stephen Letz (Northern Illinois) and Soteropulous each had two hits.

Jared Oliva went 5-for-5 in his Woodchucks debut with a home run, two doubles, two runs, and four RBIs.

Kalamazoo completes its series against Wisconsin tomorrow evening. First pitch from Athletic Park is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. EDT.

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