Kalamazoo, Mich. – Behind a three-run bottom of the eighth inning, the Kalamazoo Growlers took down the Rockford Rivets on Sunday, June 4, by a final score of 8-4.
Kalamazoo once again opened things up early with five unanswered in the second and fourth innings. The Growlers wouldn’t even need a hit in the second inning as two runs came home on an error, two hit-by-pitches, and a passed ball. More free passes would follow in the fourth as K-Zoo would walk twice and score two on an RBI single and a passed ball, making it 5-0 Growlers.
Tyler Johnson, in his third appearance this season dazzled in his first four innings of work. The returner from Alma College retired 11 of the first 12 batters that he faced. The fifth is where things would get tough, Johnson would walk the bases loaded but get out of it with just one allowed. Back out for the sixth, Johnson would give up a leadoff home run to right from Kahlil Walker and then a two-run shot two batters later to Matthew Mebane to make it a one-run game.
The Growlers would then turn to the right-hander in Jake O’Connell from Montevallo for his third relief appearance who would close out the frame and keep it a one-run lead. O’Connell would go the rest of the way ending with 3.1 innings of scoreless work not giving up a walk or a hit while striking out four.
Kalamazoo would add on three more of insurance in the bottom of the eight off of RBI singles from Joey Winters and Cam Conley and would hold on for the four-run victory.
The Growl move on to 5-2 on the season while the Rivets have their three-game winning streak snap and fall back below .500 at 3-4. The two teams will face each other again tomorrow, June 5 at Homer Stryker Field with first pitching coming at 10:05 a.m.