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Growlers sneak past Rivets to win fifth straight

Loves Park, Ill. — In a tie game in the ninth inning, the visiting Kalamazoo Growlers (21-17, 5-1) knocked the game-winning RBI single to secure the 6-5 victory over the host Rockford Rivets (21-19, 1-4) at Rivets Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Growlers notch their fifth consecutive win, tying a season-high and reaching this mark for the first time since June 5. 

Kalamazoo struck first in the second inning on an Austin Knight (Tennessee) RBI single to take an early 1-0 lead. The Growlers plated three more runs in the fourth as Drew Blakely (Virginia) knocked a two-run single followed by a sacrifice fly from Zack Gelof (Virginia) to stretch the margin to 4-0. 

Rockford got on the board in the fifth due to an error to make it a 5-1 contest. In the eighth frame, the Rivets quickly tallied four runs on four hits to even the score at 5-5. The rally began with a RBI single followed by a two-run double by Rockford’s Branden Comia to cut the deficit to 5-4. The Rivets then took advantage of another Kalamazoo error to scratch across the tying run. 

With two outs in the top of the ninth, the Growlers’ offense delivered in the clutch. Gabe Rivera (Univ. of Miami) reached on a two-out single to keep the frame alive and then Rivera stole second base to set-up the go-ahead run. On the ensuing batter, Clay Owens (USC) dropped a crucial RBI single to score Rivera and put the Growlers in front 6-5.

Kalamazoo relief pitcher Eamon Horwedel (Ohio Univ.) earned the win, improving to 3-0. Horwedel compiled three strikeouts with no earned runs allowed on one hit in 1 ⅔ innings pitched. Rockford reliever Tanner Propst took the loss, falling to 0-2.

The Kalamazoo Growlers conclude the two-game series versus Rockford tomorrow evening at Rivets Stadium. First pitch is slated for a 6:35 p.m. CT start. 

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The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.