Latest News

Published On: July 14th, 2016

Mankato, MN – Leading 6-2 in the 6th inning and seemingly in control, the Kalamazoo Growlers looked poised to pick up a road win and a split of the series with the Mankato MoonDogs. Instead, the MoonDogs had other ideas, as their high powered offense refused to go down quietly, and they mustered up six runs over the next three frames en route to a picking up a 8-6 win over the Growlers and a sweep of the series at Franklin Rogers Park on Wednesday night.

The MoonDogs once again scored first, getting a run in the bottom of the 1st inning off Growlers starter Jacob Piechota (Western Michigan), but the Growlers would answer with a run of their own in the top part of the 2nd as Brandon Gomez (Nova Southeastern) scored on an RBI groundout from TJ Marik (Austin Peay). The MoonDogs would counter with a run of their own in the bottom part of the frame to retake a 2-1 lead.

The Growlers would respond immediately in the top of the 3rd, with Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) leading off the frame by hitting a solo home run to left field to knot the game up at 2.

The score would remain that way until the top of the 5th inning, when the Growlers experienced another power surge. After David Hensley (San Diego State) walked to begin the frame, Kopach singled, and Jordan Verdon (San Diego State) also walked to load the bases with one out for Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois). Hutchins proceeded to hit a fastball from MoonDogs starter Cameron Link (LA Tech) way over the left field fence for a grand slam to give the Growlers a 6-2 lead and chase Linck out of the game.

The Growlers seemed poise to race to a victory, but the MoonDogs would answer, as they used four singles as part of a four-run 6th inning to tie the game up at 6. In the bottom of the 7th inning, a solo home run by Marcus Pingleton (Heartland C.C.) gave the MoonDogs a 7-6 lead, and after another solo home run by Jake Roberts (Gonzaga) in the 8th inning, the MoonDogs held a two-run advantage heading to the final frame.

The Growlers once again cooked up a mini rally in the 9th, with Hutchins singling to bring up Gomez with two outs. Gomez would hit a high fly ball that would be caught right in front of the left-field fence by Jordan Kozicky (Minnesota) to prevent a two-run game tying home run and give the MoonDogs an 8-6 victory and a sweep of the series.

The MoonDogs sweep of the Growlers earned them a split of the season series after the Growlers had swept them at Homer Stryker Field on July 7. This was the second time the Growlers have been swept this season with the other coming at the hands of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters at Witter Field on June 17. Kopach homered for the second straight game marking the first time this season that a Growlers has hit a home run in consecutive games. His four home runs are now tied for the team lead with Hutchins, whose grand slam in the 5th inning was the second by a Growler this season. The other came off the bat of Kasey Cooper (Arkansas-Fort Smith) against the Wisconsin Woodchucks on June 15. Hutchins had three hits in total to pace the Growlers, his fifth such game this season and his fourteenth multi-hit game in total. Kopach and Camden Duzenack (Dallas Baptist) also had multi-hit outings for the Growlers to pick up their thirteenth and fifth multi-hit games respectively this season. The Growlers came into the game with a 19-3 record when leading after the 5th inning, while the MoonDogs had been 0-10 when trailing after 5 innings of play. Kenny Varnell (Fresno State) picked up the win for the MoonDogs and improved to 1-0 while Drake Hermann (Pittsburg State) took the loss to fall to 1-1. Piechota started and went 5 2/3 innings for the Growlers, but allowed eight hits and five runs, while striking out three and walking two en route to a no-decision.

The Growlers will continue their four game Minnesota swing as they travel to Rochester to entertain the Honkers. Trey Ganns (Northern Kentucky) is set to make his second start for the Growlers with first pitch set for 7:05 CDT from Mayo Field.


The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Growlers as your favorite team.