Wisconsin Rapids, WI – In an 11-inning thriller, the Kalamazoo Growlers take their first road sweep of the season, winning game two over the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters by a final score of 4-3.
Kalamazoo’s power for a second straight night would prove fruitful in the early going. Off of Rafters starter, Calen Graham, K-Zoo left the yard twice in the third inning, both on solo shots from Savi Delgado and Korbin Griffin.
Eamon Horwedel would work four scoreless innings to start working around traffic on in three of them. The Rafters would find their offensive spark in the fifth frame as Brandon Rogers sent one over 360 feet over the left field wall to tie the ballgame back at two. Rogers, his second home run of the season is now the lone Rafter with multiple homers.
Horwedel would settle down for the next two innings, leaving a runner stranded in the sixth and seventh. Horwedel’s final line of 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 2 K keeps the fourth-year Growler at an impressive 2.14 ERA through his first three appearances.
K-Zoo’s offense would stall in the back half of the ballgame as the Rafters pen retired 18 of the next 20 batters through the ninth inning.
The Growlers would hand the ball off to Kyle Salley for the eighth and after retiring the side after facing four batters, Salley would struggle to start the ninth. Back-to-back walks to begin the frame forced Growlers Cody Piechocki to go to the pen.
Jerad Berkenpas, in his team-leading sixth appearance of the season, would come on once again for the second straight night in the later innings. Berkenpas would strand both runners in scoring position to force it into extras and then would strand once again the game-winning run in scoring position in the tenth.
Kalamazoo would finally pull through at the plate at the top of the eleventh. With a placement runner at second in Korbin Griffin, reliever Julian Tristan gave up a walk to Banks Tolley and a sac bunt by Myles Beale would move them both into scoring position with one out.
Following an intentional walk to Will Furniss and a strikeout to Gabe Springer, Kevin Krill would come up with the bases loaded and two outs. Krill, in his first start since June 3rd after sustaining an injury, worked a full-count walk to bring home the go-ahead run. After a Colin Blanchard hit by pitch to extend the lead to two, Jerad Berkenpas would go out to the mound again, this time with a lead.
Berkenpas following a groundout and a strikeout, Berkenpas would give up an RBI single to Brandon Rogers but it would be too little too late. Levi Jensen, pinch-hitting, would ground out right back to Berkenpas to end the ballgame giving the Growlers their first extra-inning win and a sweep of the Rapids.
The Zoo is back on the road tomorrow in Madison, taking on the Mallards. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET.