Green Bay, Wisc. – The Kalamazoo Growlers would make it interesting in the late innings, but would hold on to defeat the Green Bay Bullfrogs, 8-6 and earn their first victory at Johannes Stadium this season. The Growlers eight runs tied for the most runs scored against the Bullfrogs this season.
Growlers (2-6) scored right in the first inning with two outs as Troy Montgomery came around to score to give the Growlers the 1-0 lead.
The flood gates would open in the second inning as the Growlers scored five runs five hits including four straight singles at one point. The Growlers would bat around in the inning and manage to load the bases just once. Ryan Spaulding (Ball State), Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh), Jesse Puscheck (Cansisus) and Jalen Phillips (Duke) all registered RBI’s on singles while Ryan Lidge (Notre Dame) registered an RBI via the sacrifice fly. It was the biggest run output against Green Bay this year for the Growlers.
The Bullfrogs (3-5) would try to inch closer in the bottom of the third. Green Bay would score one run on two hits with still nobody out but that would be it as RHP Shane Bryant (Purdue) would close the door and set down three straight to end the inning.
The Growlers would tack on another run in the sixth when with Spaulding slid home ahead of the throw after an error by the Green Bay shortstop. The Growlers would strand runners on the corners but extended their lead to 7-2.
The Growlers would run into some trouble in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings as Kalamazoo would load the bases in both innings. In the seventh RHP Donnie Eaton (Michigan) would bear down and limit the damage to just two runs and keep the Growlers lead to 7-4.
It would get even crazier in the bottom of the eighth as with the bases loaded and no outs, the Growlers would make some clutch plays beginning with Lidge gunning down the runner at third for the first out. Then Growlers would then turn their Northwoods League leading 52nd double play to get out of the inning with no harm done.
Growlers would add one more in the top of the ninth while the Bullfrogs would add two but that would be it as the Growlers defeated the Bullfrogs 8-6 and earn their first win against Green Bay on the road.
The starter Nick Wernke (West Virginia) would leave after just two outs in the first inning due to arm tightness and Shane Bryant would fill in nicely going 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out four to earn the win. Donnie Eaton was clutch out of the bullpen diverting two bases loaded disasters while going three innings giving up no runs on just (blank) hits.
Jesse Puscheck was the “Growler of the Night” as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI’s and one run scored. It was a hitting parade for the Growlers as they recorded 12 hits, all on singles with eight of the ten batters registering hits. Lidge, Puscheck and Nathan Henckel (Kalamazoo Valley Community College) recorded multi-hit games.
The Growlers will continue their six game road trip as they head out to face North Division opponent, the Waterloo Bucks. Kalamazoo will then go off to face yet another North Division opponent in the Rochester Honkers. Game one of the Waterloo Bucks series will begin tomorrow at 8:05 p.m.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st 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 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com.