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I-94 Rivalry Doubleheader Results In Two Kalamazoo Losses

Photo by Kimberly MossKALAMAZOO, MI –Two high scoring affairs for the teams that are included in the I-94 rivalry in Thursday’s doubleheader, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, but in the end Battle Creek came score more and swept the Growlers.

The first game of the doubleheader had the first pitch thrown at noon.

Battle Creek got on the board first, in the second inning, when Niko Pacheco (Cal-State Fullerton) hit a solo home run off starter Alex Kuisel (Academy of Art) for his first of four RBIs in the game.

The Growlers (6-23,14-48) responded quickly, though, putting up three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-1 lead.

Jordan Stading (Houston) led off the inning with a single and advanced to third on an error. Alex Gosser (Arkansas) then capitalized on the Bomber mistake and sent Stading home with another single. After John Ruiz (Miami) hit a fly-out, Corey Dempster (USC) launched a two-run home run to left center field for his first home run of the season.

Kalamazoo held a 3-2 lead until the seventh inning when the bullpen collapsed and the Bombers scored six runs to take a 8-3 lead.

The Growlers were able shrink the lead to 8-5, but that was all they could muster and dropped the first game of the doubleheader.

Alex Kuisel (Academy Of Art) had his longest outing of the season, going five innings allowing three hits and only one earned run. He was in line for the win until the lead later given up.

In the second game, it all but seemed the Bombers ( 10-17,23-39) would run away.

Growlers’ starter Andrew Shepherd (Jackson), in his only inning of work, walked three batters and allowed two hits, a combination that produced three runs.

In the third inning, though, Kalamazoo would tie the game up on hits by John Ruiz, Angelo Armenta (USC), Jordan Stading and a groundout by Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois).

The tie would only last until the end of the Growlers’ portion of that inning as Bombers plated four more runs in the top of the fourth.

When Kalamazoo was up to bat in the seventh, it trailed Battle Creek 8-3.

With playing a rival, though, comes more competitive playing.

The Growlers made the game more interesting by scoring four runs of their own to shrink the lead to a single run.

The competitive playing surfaced for Battle Creek the next two innings, scoring two in the eighth and one in the ninth, to cement a 11-7 win.

The bullpens for each team were exhausted with the Bombers using three pitchers and the Growlers using four. With another two-nine inning doubleheader the next day in Battle Creek, this may prove to be problematic.

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