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Published On: June 8th, 2015

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI – The home side scored early and often as the Kalamazoo Growlers fell to the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 9-2 in their series opener on Sunday afternoon at Witter Field.

The Rafters (6-6) scored one run in each of the first four innings against Kalamazoo starter Matt Frawley (Purdue). Jake Sandlin (Georgia College) started things off with a solo home run in the first and later drove home another with a third-inning double. Jonah Bride (Neosho CC/South Carolina) plated the second inning runs on a single and sac fly, respectively.

Slaughter_SwingsThe Growlers (3-10) got a pair back in the fifth to make it 4-2. After John Soteropulos (California) singled, Ryan Slaughter (KVCC) took Wisconsin Rapids starter Jack Riley (UConn) well deep to left center for his first home run of the calendar year. The Rafters responded almost immediately as Mitchell McGeein (Eastern Michigan) socked a towering homer to left to push it back to 6-2.

Kalamazoo threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. Kory Young (Michigan State) struck out to bring up Stephen Letz. Reliever Craig Pearcy (Morehead State)’s 1-0 pitch was wild and Soteropulos took off from third to the plate, but a fortunate bounce gave catcher Kyle Devin (Rhode Island) time to flip to Pearcy at the plate to tag out Soteropulos and end the threat. The Rafters would then add three more in their half of the seventh, highlighted by a two-run double by Sandlin.

Riley (1-0) took home the W with six-plus innings of two-run, seven-hit ball. He walked none and struck out five on 87 pitches. Frawley (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in five innings. Tim Cerven (KVCC/GVSU) allowed three runs in his 1.1 innings of work, while Justin Schander (Phoenix College) got the last five outs without allowing a run.

Soteropulos led the Growlers at the plate by going 3-for-3 with a run, extending his hitting streak to seven games. The two-run homer gave Slaughter his fourth and fifth RBIs of the season.

Sandlin finished with a monster game at the plate for Wisconsin Rapids, going 4-for-5 with three doubles, three runs, and four RBIs. McGeein and Bride combined to drive in the other five Rafter runs. Demetrius Sims (Bethune-Cookman), Zack Domingues (Long Beach State), and Sam Tolleson (Central Florida) each had two-hit games.

The Growlers will wrap up their six-game road trip against the Rafters on Monday night. First pitch from Witter Field is set for 8:05 p.m. EDT.

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