ROCKFORD, IL- The Growlers sent 58 batters to the plate, knocked 20 hits, and plated 21 runs in a dominant 21-9 victory over the Rockford Rivets on Friday evening.
In a season full of franchise watermarks for Kalamazoo, they made history once again on a muggy night in Illinois as the 21-run outburst broke the franchise record for runs in a single game, beating the previous record of 19.
The Growlers had only scored 3 runs in 27 innings vs Rockford coming into the game, and flipped the script in dramatic fashion.
After a 14 minute delay, and an on-field bagpipe performance, the Growlers came out roaring. They scored 9 runs in the first inning on Rockford starter Cole Bellair. Bellair, a 3-year Rockford veteran, was pitching his final game in a Rivets uniform, and could only survive 0.2 IP, giving up 9 runs on 5 hits. Kalamazoo sent 13 hitters to the plate in the opening frame, and quickly found themselves up 9-0. Bellair failed to strike out any Growlers, meaning he ended his Rockford career three strikeouts short of 100.
The lead ballooned to 18-3 for Kalamazoo over the next 4 innings, and despite a 6-run fifth for Rockford, and shaky pitching from Growlers starter Andrew Belcik (4.2 IP,6H, 9R, 6ER, 5BB, 0K), the Growlers lead felt secure throughout the ballgame.
Tommy Sommer earned the win in relief for Kalamazoo, Sommer went 3.1 IP and only gave up 1 hit, while striking out 4 Rivets.
Kalamazoo had numerous big days at the plate, as 8 Growlers recorded at least one hit while 7 had at least 2. Cayman Richardson posted a stat line not often seen in a 9-inning game, as the Virginia utility player went 4 for 7 with 3 RBI’s and 2 doubles. Brendan Rivoli, also from Virginia, showed a sweet swing as well, going 3 for 4 with 4 RBI’s which included a 2-run homerun to right field. Both Sam Crail and Jordan Bowersox extended their hitting streaks to 10 games, tying them for the team-high. Ivan Johnson also had a 10-game streak earlier in the season.
Although positives reign supreme in the 21-9 victory, the Growlers pitching staff continued to struggle as Kalamazoo has surrendered 45 runs in the last four games. However, the Growlers managed to go 2-2 over those four games because Kalamazoo’s offense plated 45 runs in the same stretch.
With the win Kalamazoo improved to 22-10 on the season, 2 games back of the south-leading Madison Mallards. Rockford fell to 17-14 on the year with the loss.
Kalamazoo will return home for the final 4 games of the first half. Kalamazoo will battle the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders at Homer Stryker Field on Saturday evening, with first pitch at 7:05pm.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 190 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.comor download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.