Rockford, Ill. – The Kalamazoo Growlers scored seven runs in the first two innings and cruised thereafter, crushing the Rockford Rivets 11-1 to split the series at Rivets Stadium.
The Growlers used a five-run second inning to open the flood gates and never looked back. It was Brandon Gomez (Nova Southeastern) and Jordan Verdon (San Diego State) doing the damage in the inning for Kalamazoo.
With the bases loaded, Gomez sent a laser off the centerfield wall for a bases-clearing double. Verdon would follow Gomez in the order, ripping a single to bring home the Miami native from second base. Gomez would finish the game going 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.
Verdon also had himself a multi-hit game to go along with superb defense at first base, as the San Diego State Aztec went 2-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored. Overall, the 4-5-6 for Kalamazoo went 7-for-13 with nine of the team’s 10 RBI.
Jacob Piechota (Western Michigan) picked up his second win of the season, allowing just one run while scattering nine hits and striking out three. Trey Ganns (Northern Kentucky) came on in relief for Piechota, tossing two scoreless relief innings in his debut on the mound. After walking 13 batters against the Rivets in Game 1 of the series, the pitching staff for the Growlers didn’t walk one batter on Friday.
For the Rivets, it was Cole Bellair (Illinois) who was chased from the game after just two innings of work. Only one of the seven runs he allowed was credited as earned, however. Kalamazoo would also add four more off Rivets shortstop Jordan Hovey (Missouri State), who came on in relief in the ninth inning.
Ricardo Ramirez (Illinois-Chicago) starred for the Rivets in the middle of their order, going 4-for-4 with three doubles while scoring the lone run for Rockford.
Next up for the Growlers (18-14) is a six-game home stand, starting with the first place Wisconsin Rapids Rafters on Saturday and Sunday. Devin Pellien (Nova Southeastern) is set to start the opener as he looks for his fourth victory of the season. First pitch is set for 6:05 from Homer Stryker 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 www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Growlers as your favorite team.