Rockford, Ill. – The Kalamazoo Growlers continued their road trip to Rockford, Ill. to take on the Rivets for their first ever meeting as Northwoods League opponents. Behind three homeruns, the Rivets down the Growlers 8-7 on Thursday at Rivets Stadium after a one hour rain delay.
Hunter Hargrove (Texas Tech) started the offense early for the Rivets with a three-run blast off of Austin Woodby (Ohio State) to give Rockford the early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
However, Kalamazoo would take the lead in the third inning behind a two-run homerun from Matt Lloyd (Iowa Western) and an RBI single off the bat of Jordan Verdon (San Diego State). Connor Kopach (Southern Illinois) would also score that inning off a double error on a pickoff move at first base.
Once again, Hargrove would use the long ball in the fifth inning to break the 4-4 tie. He sent a three-run shot over the left field wall to give the Rivets the 7-4 lead, but the Growlers would threaten again.
After an hour rain delay, play resumed in the top of the sixth and Kalamazoo would plate three that inning to pull within one. But, Joe Romero (Albany) would slam the door on any hope the Growlers had at another comeback. Romero tossed 2 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to pick up his first save of the season.
For Kalamazoo, Matt Lloyd was the star at the bottom of the lineup. The Indiana commit went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored and now has four extra-base hits over his last three games (two starts).
Overall, the Growlers as a team struggled on the mound as they allowed a season-high 13 walks between four pitchers. Grant Schneider (Arizona State) was credited with the loss against the Rivets, his first of the season.
Dan Robinson (Central Michigan) had his first multi-hit game since June 23, going 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Growlers. Connor Smith (Western Michigan) also picked up his first RBI as a Growler with double off the wall in the three- sixth inning that brought home Lloyd and Kopach.
For the Rivets, Hargrove led the way going 2-for-3 with two homeruns and six RBI. Also sending one out of the park was Ricardo Ramirez (Illinois-Chicago) in the bottom of the fifth inning. His solo homerun came two batters after Hargrove's second homerun. Ramirez finished the night going 1-for-4 with a homerun and an RBI.
The Growlers (17-14) will wrap up the two-game series against the Rivets (15-15) tomorrow from Rivets Stadium. Jacob Piechota (Western Michigan) is scheduled to make the start for Kalamazoo. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m. EST.
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.