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Growlers prevail to first ever win in Kenosha

Kenosha, WIS – Through five innings of play, the Kalamazoo Growlers had not had a batter reach base against Kenosha Kingfish starter Brendon Allen. After six innings, they still had not scored. Fortunately, the Kingfish had no answer for Kalamazoo starter Grant Wolfram (Central Michigan) either, and the Growlers’ bats came to life in the nick of time, as they claimed a huge 3-1 win on Tuesday night for Kalamazoo’s first victory ever at Simmons Field.

Wolfram threw 6 2/3 innings en route to picking up the win for the Growlers (17-13), as he allowed just one run while scattering four hits and striking out five while walking just two. Wolfram retired 11 of the first 12 Kenosha batters he faced and did not allow a hit until the third inning. Kingfish starter Brendon Allen was almost as impressive, retiring the first 15 batters he faced, en route to going 6 2/3 innings while striking out four, but he did allow two runs in the 7th inning to take his his second loss of the season for the Kingfish (13-16).

The Growlers got their first base runners in the sixth inning, thanks to singles from Matt Lloyd (Iowa Western) and Jordan Verdon (San Diego State), but those two were stranded after Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) grounded into an inning-ending double play. The 7th frame proved to be the difference, as Connor Smith (Western Michigan) began the frame by getting beamed in the helmet on a full-count pitch. Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) then singled through the right side as Smith moved to third base. The Growlers then played small ball to perfection, with Nick Hutchins (Southern Illinois) laying down a beautiful squeeze bunt that scored Smith after he slid under a tag from Kingfish catcher Matt Byars for the game’s first run. After a double play had moved Robinson to third base, Camden Duzenack (Dallas Baptist) delivered in a big way, lining an RBI single to right field.

The Kingfish answered with a run of their own in the bottom part of the seventh that eventually chased Wolfram, but that was all they could muster, and the Growlers added an insurance run in the 9th, after Robinson, who walked to lead off the frame scored on Duzenack single which resulted in a rushed throw from Kingfish shortstop Blake Reese that sailed into the stands. Austin Rodesky (Findlay) came on in relief for the Growlers and would strike out the four batters he faced en route to five strikeouts on the evening to pick up his fourth save of the season.

Entering tonight’s game, the Growlers had been 0-9 all time at Simmons Field. The Growlers win snapped a four game Kingfish winning streak. Rodesky’s four saves are tied for third among the Northwoods League leaders. Duzenack’s 7th inning RBI single extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He has now hit safely in every game he has played with the Growlers. Verdon’s two hits paced the Growlers. That was his third multi-hit game this season. The Growlers are now 3-1 this season against the Kingfish after sweeping their initial season series as Homer Stryker Field. The two teams will meet next at Simmons Field on July 8 for a two game series.

After their first off-day of the season tomorrow, the Growlers will travel on Thursday to Rockford to take on the Rivets. Austin Woodby (Ohio State) is slated to start for Kalamazoo with first pitch scheduled for 7:35 from Rivets Stadium.

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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.