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Longballs, Errors Doom Growlers at Wisconsin

WAUSAU, WI – Plagued by Wisconsin power and their own defensive miscues, the Kalamazoo Growlers fell 7-1 to the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Thursday night at Athletic Park.

The Woodchucks (4-4) tagged Kalamazoo starter Derek Schneider (Western Michigan) in the bottom of the second inning. Jared Oliva (Arizona) drew a leadoff walk, then two batters later Albee Weiss (Cal State Northridge) took Schneider deep to left field for a two-run homer. Wisconsin would pick up another run in the third when the Growlers committed two errors on one Oliva groundball.

Wisconsin took advantage of more sloppy defense in the sixth as Charles Leblanc (Pittsburgh) dropped a two-out popup, putting men on second on third. Ian Yetsko (Oakland University) immediately capitalized with a single to right field to score both. The Woodchucks plated two more in the seventh, highlighted by a solo home run by LJ Hatch (Johnson County CC) and the fourth Growler error of the night.

The Growlers (2-8) picked up a run in the top of the seventh when Kory Brown (Bowling Green) drew a bases-loaded walk, but Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) came inches shy of making it a 5-5 tie with a warning track fly out to left.

Schneider_OpeningNightSchneider (0-2) exited after Leblanc’s error, allowing five runs (two earned) on two hits in 5.2 innings to take the loss. He walked five and struck out five on 113 pitches, the highest pitch count for a Growler this season. Ben Spieldenner (St. Joseph’s College) allowed a pair of runs in his 1.1 innings, while Justin Schander (Phoenix College) tossed a perfect eighth.

Jared Skolnicki (Kent State, 2-0) kept the Growlers on their toes through five innings of work, allowing a lone single and walking two while striking out 11. Chance Simpson (Illinois-Springfield), Kyle Dohy (Cal State Northridge), and Eli Kraus (Kent State) combined to pitch the last four innings.

Fletcher, Max Schuman (Utah), and John Soteropulos (California) managed the only three hits of the night for the Growlers. Weiss had three hits for the Woodchucks, including the two-run homer in the second.

Kalamazoo’s six-game road trip continues on Friday night with a visit to the Green Bay Bullfrogs. First pitch from Joannes Stadium is set for 7:35 p.m. EDT.

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 21-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.northwoodsleague.com