KALAMAZOO, MI – It has been a very similar sotry in each of the Growlers' recent games. The pitching has not been able to keep Kalamazoo in the game lately as they have allowed double digit runs in four of the last seven games. Tonight's contest ended in a 10-6 victory for the Madison Mallards.
Madison's bats got hot early this evening as they were able to explode for eight of their ten runs in the first two innings. The Mallards were able to score runs in a variety of ways in these first couple innings. A home run, two base hits, a pair of wild pitches, and a fielder's choice got the Growlers into a hole that they were not able to dig themselves out of.
Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) delivered Kalamazoo's first run of the ball game in the first on a fielder's choice that brought his fellow Saluki teammate, Connor Kopach, home. The Growlers then added two more runs in the third. The scoring in this frame began with Michael Crowley's (Huntington) second home run of the season. Hutchins brought Kopach home for the second time this evening later in the inning on a double into the leftfield gap.
Nico Hoerner responded for Madison in the fifth with an RBI base knock that brought Bryce Carter across the plate and extended Kalamazoo's deficit to 9-3.
The Growlers were able to find some life in the sixth inning in what looked like a comeback bid. Darius Coldiron (Coker College) got Kalamazoo rolling with a base hit that allowed Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) to score with ease. Crowley followed the hit up with his second RBI of the night on a ground ball to short to bring Kasey Cooper (Arkansas Fort Smith) home. New Growler, Evan Cheng (Youngstown State), capped off the three-run sixth with a hard hit ball the other way that fell in right field and plated Coldiron.
The comeback came up short as the Mallards added on one more run in the eighth and shutout Kalamazoo in the final three frames to hold on to their lead and win the game by a score of 10-6.
Growlers' starter, Zack Vitkuske (Muskegon CC), was only able to last 2/3 of an inning on the mound in this one as he surrendered five runs (four ER) on five hits while walking one batter. A bright spot on the mound for Kalamazoo was Zane Gonzalez (Kalamazoo Valley CC) as he was able to pitch three scoreless innings out of the bullpen while only allowing three hits.
Hutchins and Crowley led the way at the plate for Kalamazoo each picking up hits and collecting two RBIs.
Kalamazoo and Madison will be back in action to conclude the series tomorrow afternoon at Homer Stryker Field. Local product, Cody Ritsema (Aquinas College), will get the nod on the bump with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 p.m. EDT.
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.