Growlers drop heartbreaker at Kokomo
Kokomo, IN. — The visiting Kalamazoo Growlers (25-22, 9-6) led by four runs entering the final frame of regulation before the host Kokomo Jackrabbits (21-26, 6-8) rallied back to take the shocking 11-10 walk-off victory at Kokomo Municipal Stadium Thursday evening.
The Jackrabbits struck first on a lead-off solo blast from Logan Jarvis on the first pitch to give the hosts an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kalamazoo quickly tied the game at 1-1 in the second on a RBI groundout from Austin Knight (Tennessee).
Kalamazoo’s offense exploded with two outs in the third inning, tallying four runs on four hits to grab a 5-1 advantage. The rally began with a booming RBI double from Gabe Rivera (Univ. of Miami) to make it 2-1 followed by a RBI single from Jimmy Sullivan (Virginia) to stretch the lead. The Growlers created more separation courtesy of a two-run blast to left field by Jake Topolski (Duke) to make it a four-run lead.
Kokomo answered in the ensuing frame with a two-out RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-2. Kalamazoo came back again with three runs of its own in the fourth on a Zack Gelof (Virginia) RBI single, run-scoring double from Clay Owens (USC) and a sacrifice fly to left provided by Shea Kramer (Utah) to extend the margin to 8-2.
The Jackrabbits continued to fight in the fifth inning with a Jarvis RBI double to trim the margin to 8-3. Kokomo adds two more on a sacrifice fly and error to make it a three-run contest at 8-5. The wire-to-wire affair with continued with Kalamazoo adding another insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly from Rivera to make it 9-5.
The Growlers added another insurance run in the ninth on a Hunter Thorn (Purdue Northwest) to stretch the advantage to 10-6. Kokomo answered with a furious rally in the ninth, compiling five runs on just two hits to win the game on a walk-off. The rally started with a sacrifice fly followed by a three-run double to tie the game at 10-10. Then, Kokomo’s Michael Cleary was hit by a pitch to score the winning run.
Kalamazoo reliever DJ Moore (Huntington Univ.) took the loss, falling to 3-3. Kokomo relief pitcher Mark Meyer earned the win, improving to 1-1. The Kalamazoo Growlers conclude the series tomorrow evening. First pitch is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start.
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