KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers earned a 6-1 victory in game three to sweep the series against the Rockford Rivets, behind a great appearance from starting pitcher Kyle Virbitsky.
Virbitsky held the Rivets scoreless through seven innings, striking out four batters and allowing only four hits.
The Growlers offense jumped on the board first when Jordan Bowersox batted in Jason Sullivan in the first inning. In the third, Sam Hall was moved around the bases from a base hit by Sullivan and a Matt Mervis walk. Hall scored on a wild pitch from the Rivets starter Jimmy Burnette. Jason Sullivan also reached home to extend the early Growler lead to 3-0 after three innings.
In the fourth, Baron Radcliff sent a two-run bomb over the center field wall stretching the Growler lead to 5-0. Later in the sixth, leadoff hitter Zach Daniels hit an infield single and advanced to second on a Rivets error. Daniels scored the sixth and final run on a ground out by Jared Miller.
Sullivan was the key player for the Growlers today, leading the offense going 3 for 4 and scoring two runs. He extended his hit streak to 13 games in the first inning with his single to center.
In the eighth, Rockford plated their only run when Jacob Vander Wal grounded out to score Kian O’Brien.
Luke Boyd and Andrew Belcik were the two closing pitchers, both going one inning. Boyd allowed the only Rockford run.
Rivets starting pitcher Jimmy Burnette went 4.1 innings giving up seven hits and five runs. Dave Haveman relieved Burnette in the fourth. Haveman struck out five Growlers batters but allowed one run. Anthony Dahl came in to close only allowing one hit, holding the Growlers scoreless in the eighth.
The Growlers hit the road Tuesday to take on the (20-27) Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, starting a six-game road trip.
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 new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.