Rockford, Ill. – Behind a complete game from Blaine Fisher (Pittsburg State), the Kalamazoo Growlers prevailed over the Rockford Rivets in the first game of the series, 5-1, at Rivets Stadium on Monday.
Fisher dazzled through his nine innings of work, allowing just one run while scattering eight hits. The Olathe, Kan. native also struck out three and walked none, using only 82 pitches for the Growlers fourth complete game as a team.
After not receiving any run support in his first start, the Growlers gave Fisher some help on the mound before he even toed the rubber. In the top of the first inning, Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) led the inning off with single and then made history. Kopach swiped second base for his 46th stolen base of the season to set the single-season stolen base record in the Northwoods League. Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) used an RBI-fielder’s choice to drive in the first run of the ball game. It was Robinson’s 29th RBI of the season.
Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) ripped an RBI-double down the line to give the Growlers the 2-0 lead in the third and in the sixth, Kalamazoo added two more runs. Kopach drove in Jay Smith (Kalamazoo Valley CC) with a sacrifice fly to center field. After a pitching change, Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) sent a double down the line to drive in the fourth run of the game for the Growlers.
Hutchins, Griggs and Smith each had multi-hit games for Kalamazoo pace the offense against a Rivets team that has now dropped seven straight games including 10 in a row at home as well.
Hunter Hargrove (Texas Tech) had his fifth three-hit game of the season on Monday. Hargrove went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Gavin Johnson (Rice) also recorded a multi-hit game for the Rivets.
Kalamazoo (32-35) is still in a tie for fourth place in the South division, as they try to lock up the final playoff spot. The Growlers have the day off on Tuesday due to the Major League Dream Showcase in Madison, Wisc. The series with the Rivets will resume on Wednesday with Devin Pellien (Nova Southeastern) taking the ball as the Growlers look to sweep the Rivets on the road. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m. ET.
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.