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Growlers Come Up Just Short in Traverse City Defeat on Friday Night

TRAVERSE CITY, MI — A strong outing from the Kalamazoo pitching staff was not enough, as the Traverse City Pit Spitters took down the Kalamazoo Growlers, 4-3 on Friday from Turtle Creek Stadium.

Trey Nordmann made his first start for the Growlers, after serving as the team’s closer in 2020. Nordmann showed quality command for both his primary pitches – the fastball and slider, and limited traffic on the bases. Unfortunately, the Pit Spitters who did reach base became a constant threat.

After 14 hits and 11 runs on Thursday night, the Traverse City was forced to play a lot of small ball, with only two hits on Friday, and executed quite well. Of the four Pit Spitter runs, three were scored from Nordmann walks. After Christian Faust led off the game with a single in the first, he stole second, and came around to score on a ground ball.

Similarly, Zeb Roos walked in the second, stole second base, and score off two Traverse City ground outs. Roos also walked and stole second in the fourth, before scoring on an Adam Proctor RBI single. Michael Stygles also came home to score that inning on a fielder’s choice.

Traverse City was able to stay aggressive on the bases, taking advantage of limited opportunities to grab an early 4-1 lead.

The Growlers offense entered Friday night on a roll in the past couple of games, scoring nine and seven runs respectively. Truth be told, the bats stayed hot. Cade Stanton scored Kalamazoo’s first run in the top of the fourth off a Luke Storm double. Ian McCutcheon scored all the way from first the next inning after a Don Goodes triple, making it 4-2. Storm was singled home by Anthony Catalano in the eighth to get Kalamazoo within a run.

The Growlers had other opportunities in the game to tack on more, but a few stunning web gems in the field by Traverse City made the difference. Faust made back-to-back diving stops down the third base line in the third. Joe Stewart, who had two hits on the day, also hit a ball to the warning track in dead center field that was snagged over the shoulder by Pit Spitters center fielder Crews Taylor in the top of the eighth.

The Kalamazoo bullpen held serve through the later stages, as Luke Krkovsky provided two shutout innings, followed by another 0 on the scoreboard courtesy of Grant Jebbia. However, a few loud outs made all the difference in this tightly contested matchup.

The Growlers drop to 4-7 on the season. They’ll look to avenge this two game sweep straight away, welcoming in Traverse City for a pair of games at Homer Stryker Field on Saturday at 6:35 ET, and Sunday at 1:35 ET.