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Growlers bats go quiet once again as Rafters sweep series

Wisconsin Rapids, WI – The Kalamazoo Growlers had no answers for the pitching of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters as they fell 4-1 at Witter Field on Friday night.

The loss came on the heels of a 10-0 defeat on Thursday night, which was the first shutout loss of the season for the Growlers. In that game, they managed just four hits. While they upped their hit total to six tonight, it was not nearly enough, as they left ten runners on base and missed out on lots of scoring opportunities.

B.J. Butler (Ball State) was very good on the mound once again for the Growlers, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing just three runs, only one of which was earned. Butler allowed just three hits and struck out six, but despite these solid numbers, Butler took his first loss, in part due to his having to throw a season-high 110 pitches, and some defensive miscues from the Growlers.

The Growlers got the scoring started in the top of the 2nd inning, after singles from Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) and Dan Leckie (Lafayette College) to start the frame. After a few wild pitches from Rafters starter Dylan File, who was sensational most of the night, Griggs was able to trot home on a ball that squirted away from Rafters catcher Rob Calabrese.

The Rafters answered with a run of their own in the third on a solo home run from Dustin Woodcock to right-center. The Growlers had a great scoring chance in the top of the 7th, as they loaded the bases for Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) with one out. Robinson would then bounce into a highly controversial double play to end the inning, as it seemed that Rafters shortstop Demetrius Sims never touched the second base bag en route to completing the turn to first base. The umpires would discuss the call and stick with their initial ruling. The Rafters went on to add two more runs in the bottom of the 7th, with Dustin Woodcock plating another run with an RBI single to end Butler’s night.

After an insurance run in the 8th, the Rafters had a comfortable 4-1 lead heading to the top of the 9th. The Growlers did threaten to score in the frame, with Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) drawing a two-out walk, but Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) would bounce back to the pitcher to end the game.

The home run by Woodcock in the third inning was the first earned run charged to Butler so far this season. Robinson doubled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. The Growlers had not lost three consecutive games since June 3.

The Growlers will have a chance for revenge on their home turf, as the Rafters visit Homer Stryker Field for a two game set this weekend. Michael Brettell (Central Michigan) will get the start tomorrow night for the Growlers with first pitch slated for 6:05 EDT.

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