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Rally Falls Short as Chinooks Outlast Growlers

MEQUON, WI – The runs for both sides came late in the ballgame, but the Kalamazoo Growlers’ late run came up just short against the Lakeshore Chinooks, losing 4-3 on Saturday night at Kapco Park.

Lake Bachar (UW-Whitewater, 6-3) allowed just two runs on one hit in seven-plus innings to earn the win. He walked five and struck out five on 100 pitches, taking a no-hitter into the sixth. Mattawan native B.J. Butler (Ball State) took the loss in his first and only start for Kalamazoo, allowing one run on three hits in four innings. Butler retired the first 11 men he faced before departing on a strict pitch count. Connor Jones (Georgia) nailed down his second save for Lakeshore with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Bachar and Butler were each perfect through the first two innings before Bryce Adams (Delgado College/LSU) and Johnny Ruiz (Miami) drew back-to-back walks to lead off the top of the third. Bachar buckled down and induced a lineout from Drew Farmer (Western Michigan) and a double play from Angelo Armenta (USC) to fight out of the jam.

Butler went perfectly through the Chinook bats in the first three innings and was one out away from a perfect fourth. Zarley Zalewski (Kent State) had other ideas, launching a 2-1 fastball over the right field fence to give the Chinooks (19-20, 36-35) a 1-0 lead.

The Growlers (8-30, 16-55) first nicked Bachar in the sixth inning. Ruiz drew a leadoff walk, then after a strikeout and flyout, Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) hit a groundball up the middle that struck the field umpire and was declared dead. Fletcher was awarded first base with a single, but the rally stopped there as Marquise Gill (Eastern Michigan) grounded out to short for out number three.

The Chinooks build their lead in the seventh inning, starting with a leadoff double by Doug Kraeger (Richmond). After Lucas Raley (Lake Erie College) walked, pitcher Dylan Roberts (KVCC) was relieved by Shawn Larner (Northwood). Larner got Andrew Shaps (Arizona State) to ground into a fielder’s choice, but Greg Deichmann split the right center gap for a two-run double. Deichmann eventually scored on David Edson’s (USC) two-out single to make it 4-0 Lakeshore.

Kalamazoo responded with a rally in the eighth. Bachar was pulled after back-to-back walks to Adams and Ruiz, then two batters later Armenta legged out an infield single to load the bases. Fletcher knocked a line drive to center to plate both Adams and Ruiz. Reliever Jack Landwehr (Illinois State) tossed a wild pitch, allowing both runners to move up, and Armenta came home on Gill’s RBI groundout. Fletcher represented the tying run on third base, but Jordan Stading (Houston) bounced out to short to snuff the chance.

With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the eighth, Nathan Coakley (St. Francis, IN) entered for his team-leading 27th appearance and worked out back-to-back looking strikeouts to keep Kalamazoo within one. From there, Jones took control in the ninth, striking out Alex Gosser (Arkansas) and Corey Dempster (USC) and getting pinch-hitter John Soteropulos (California) to line out to right field.

Fletcher had two of the Growlers’ three hits to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Adams and Ruiz worked all five walks against Bachar, with Ruiz taking free bases in all three of his plate appearances.

Kraeger tallied a pair of hits to lead the Chinooks.

The Growlers put an end to the 2015 slate with their season finale against the Chinooks on Sunday afternoon. First pitch from Kapco Park is set for 6:05 p.m. EDT.

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