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Published On: July 10th, 2017

Rockford, IL- The Growlers keep finding ways to win. They used 6.2 innings of 3 run ball (only 2 earned runs) from starter Ryan Johnson (Lamar) and clutch offense from, Mitch Bigras (Boston College), Ivan Estrella (UT Rio Grande Valley), and Kaleb Murphy (USC). Here is how Kalamazoo took game one versus Rockford.

The Rivets would strike early in the bottom of the first on a solo shot over the high left field wall from their leadoff hitter and third basemen Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State), 1-0 Rockford.  With the score still 1-0 , Rockford would then add on in the bottom of the fifth with a sac fly from their catcher Hunter Feduccia (LSU Euince) scoring Jeremy Houston (Indiana) to make it 2-0 Rivets.

Rockford All Star starter Cole Bellair (Illinois) cruised through the first five innings only allowing 3 hits and striking out 5, but the third time through the Growlers lineup didnt go so well for Bellair. Connor Hollis got things going in the top of the sixth with a one out infield single. Jason Sullivan (Central Michigan), and Matt Koehler (Western Carolina) both walked to load the bases for Ivan Estrella. Ivan mashed a 2 RBI double into the left center field gap to tie the game at 2. After Drew Huff (Middle Tennese State) walked, the third walk issued by Bellair in the inning, Mitch Bigras knocked a sac fly to center to score Matt Koeher from third to give the Growlers a 3-2 lead.

Bottom 7 now Rivets have runners on the corner with 2 outs, and Hunter Feduccia at the plate. Feduccia lined a base hit through the middle of the infield past a diving second basemen Micheal Diffley ( San Diego State) to score Kian O'Brian from third to tie the game at 3.

The game would remain scoreless till the top of the ninth due to a gutsy performance from Growlers releif pitcher Bryce Welborn (Eastern New Mexico). With the go ahead run on third and two outs in the bottom of the 8th and 2-2 count Welborn got Kian O'Brien to strike out swing on a nasty curveball down.

In the top of the ninth Mitch Bigrad would knock a one out double to the right center field gap, and that would set the stage for Kaleb Murphy. Murphy on a 0-2 count knocked a groundball base hit through the middle of the diamond to score Bigras from second and give the Growlers a 4-3 lead. Walter Talcott (Earlham College) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his third save of the year. Bryce Welborn 1-2 gets the win and Rivets reliver Nick Drahozal 1-1 (Nebraska-Omaha) takes the loss.

Growlers go for their seventh straight win tommorow in the last game of this 4 game roadtrip. First pitch scheduled for 7:35 ET at Rivets Stadium. Blaine Fisher 0-3 (Pittsburg State) will face Rivets starter Lukas Veinbergs 0-1 (San Jacinto).


The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate 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, more than 170 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM).  All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.​