Kalamazoo, Mich. – The Kalamazoo Growlers despite a late comeback effort in the bottom of the ninth, couldn’t handle the Madison Mallards pitching attack as they fell in game two of their series, 7-4 on Monday night.
After registering just two hits the night before, the Mallards (6-2) would score four runs on two hits right out of the gates in the first inning. A two RBI single with no outs would crack the run column on the scoreboard and put the Mallards up 2-0. Two more runs would score in the inning, off of Growlers errors, to extend the Mallards lead to 4-0
“We weren’t ready to go and it is a lesson that something as young players you have to learn,” said assistant head coach Cody Piechocki. “You can lose a game in the first inning.”
The Growlers (1-5) would get on the board in the bottom of the third as newcomer Nathan Henckel and Grant VanPutten (Calvin College) both collected hits to put runners on first and second with just one out. That is when outfielder Jared Kujawa (Western Michigan) rocketed a single up the middle to score Henckel from second to inch the Growlers closer at 4-1.
After giving up runs in consecutive innings, Troy Montgomery (Ohio State) would register his team-leading 23rd RBI when softly hit a fly ball to right field that would fall in front of the right fielder, scoring the speedy VanPutten from second to make the score 6-2 after five innings.
“I try to come out and play as hard as I can every day,” said VanPutten. “I like to make the most out of my opportunity.”
The Mallards would add one more in the top half of the sixth, to extend their lead to 7-2. The Growlers would make it interesting in the bottom of the ninth as outfielder Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) earned his third triple of the season to get the Growlers in business with no outs. Runners were at the corners for the Growlers when a ball got away from the Madison catcher, scoring Yarnall from third to make it a 7-3 ballgame.
Karl Sorenson collected his fifth RBI of the season as he laced a double over the right fielder’s head scoring the runner from second to make it a 7-4 ballgame. The Growlers would go on to strand runners on second and third to fall to the Mallards and split the two-game series.
Ryan Colegate pitched beautifully in the loss going six innings allowing just seven hits and giving up three earned runs. VanPutten received the honor of being named “Growler of the Night” as he went 2-for-2 with a run scored.
After enjoying a four game home stand the Growlers will embark on a six game road trip that will match them up against the Green Bay Bullfrogs, Rochester Honkers and the Waterloo Bucks.
“It’s the longest day and distance road game stretch that we will have all season,” said Piechocki. “Just have to remind the guys that when they get back, they have a day off.”
Greyson Granger (Kalamazoo Valley Community College) will start tomorrow against the Bullfrogs in game one of their two game series. First pitch in Green Bay is set for 8:05 p.m.
“Greyson is a crafty lefty that knows how to pitch, “said Piechocki. “I’m not worried about a moment getting too big for him.