Latest News

Published On: July 3rd, 2021

KALAMAZOO, MI — Tanner Knapp continues to dominate Northwoods League hitters. Another strong six inning outing Friday night at Homer Stryker Field saw the Growlers win their second straight game, defeating the Rockford Rivets, 4-2.

The right hander, who commuted to Ball State just over an hour before first pitch, was masterful throughout the evening. He started by aggressively attacking hitters, striking out three and only allowing two baserunners through the first two frames.

As the outing rolled on, Knapp began pitching to more contact. Still, Rivets bats struggled to square anything up, mainly week fly outs and grounders for the Kalamazoo defense. Knapp only allowed a single hit and an run through five. The lone Rockford tally was unearned, as Tommy Benson reached on an error and came around to score on a Shemar Page ground out.

Knapp showed slight fatigue in the sixth, surpassing 100 pitches and allowing two singles, but he hunkered down and completed the frame. Knapp’s night ended with three hits, the unearned run, a walk and four strikeouts. He was also in line for his fifth win of the season.

The offense in support of Knapp mainly came from two ACC bats in the bottom third of the Growlers lineup. First, Notre Dame outfielder TJ Williams smoked his second home run of the year over the Bear Cave in left field in the bottom of the second to give the Growlers a 1-0 lead.

Following the unearned Rivets run, the Growlers struck back right away. Dominic Pitelli ripped a double the opposite way, down the left field line, scoring Luke Leto, and restoring the Growlers lead. Leto singled to right earlier in the inning, sending a rush into the Homer Stryker crowd, as the recent Portage Central High School graduate continues to get familiar with the Northwoods League.

Williams and Pitelli were not done yet. In the bottom of the sixth, Williams squared up a ball deep to right center. It was misplayed off the glove of Rockford right fielder Phillip Matulia, allowing Williams to reach second base. Pitelli followed with a bunt single, advancing Williams to third, who later scored on a wild pitch.

In relief of Knapp, the Growlers bullpen held steady. Taylor Perrett only allowed a single run through the seventh and eighth inning. After Pitelli hit his second double of the game and scored off an error in the bottom of the eighth, Braden Forsyth locked the door in the ninth. After throwing a season high 32 pitches in Traverse City a night ago, the Ole Miss right hander punched out two in a 1-2-3 frame.

The Growlers improved their record to 13-20 on the season, looking to sweep the two game set against the Rivets Saturday evening, at 6:35 ET.