KALAMAZOO, MI. – The Kalamazoo Growlers (3-2) erupted for four runs in the top of the seventh inning at C.O. Brown Stadium en route to beating the Battle Creek Bombers 9-3 on Saturday.
Niko Kavadas led the way for the Growlers going 2-for-3 with 4 RBI and Kalamazoo’s first double of the season. He also walked twice and scored two runs on the day.
Kyle Virbitsky started for the Growlers on the hill and pitched four innings allowing two runs. The Penn State product struck out two in his Growlers debut and walked two Bomber hitters.
Jack Nelson finished the game for Kalamazoo throwing all five relief innings striking out four and only giving up one run. At one-point Nelson retired ten consecutive Bombers and picked up his second win on the year. Both of Nelson’s wins have been against the Bombers.
The Growlers scoring got started in the top of the second inning after Kavadas led off with a walk and his Notre Dame teammate Jared Miller followed with a single. Anthony Cocco was hit by a pitch before Kavadas scored on a passed ball. Brendan Rivoli making his Growler debut at Catcher hit a sacrifice fly to plate Miller to give the Growlers a 2-1 lead.
Kalamazoo scored one more run in the top of the ninth when Dan Robinson led off with a walk. He stole second and eventually scored on a Anthony Cocco sacrifice fly to give the Growlers a 9-3 lead.
Battle Creek was led offensively by Jordan Swiss who has hit the Growlers pitching well all season. Swiss went 3-for-5 and scored a run in the loss for Battle Creek.
Bomber starter Amani Godfrey was chased in the sixth inning after surrendering four runs. The Growlers had just taken the lead on a Kavadas double.
The final game of the series will take place tomorrow afternoon once again at C.O. Brown Stadium. The Growlers will send Jeff Burch to the mound against Alex Kuster for the Bombers.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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, 190 former 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 (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the Northwoods League App!