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Rough Third Plagues Growlers in Defeat to Chinooks

KALAMAZOO, MI — The Growlers offense plated nine runs on Tuesday night, but it came in a losing effort to the Lakeshore Chinooks, by a score of 13-9.

One nightmare inning was once again the Growlers downfall, much like Sunday’s defeat against Kokomo. This time, the top of the third inning is where everything headed south.

Leading into the third, things looked promising for Kalamazoo. Don Goodes reached base via a hit by pitch to lead off the first, coming around to score on a balk. In the second, Ian McCutcheon singled home Devin Burkes, before scoring himself on a passed ball. This gave the Growlers a 3-0 lead with a 35 pitch inning forcing Lakeshore starter Ben Cruikshank out of the game after two innings.

On the flip side, Kalamazoo starter Karter Fitzpatrick was cruising through two, striking out three on a pair of hits.

However, fortunes changed in the third. Fitzpatrick struggled to find his earlier command, and Lakeshore took advantage. Two walks, three hits, and a hit by pitch, accompanied by two Growlers errors, saw Lakeshore plate six runs in the inning – the hammer blow being a Collin Matthews 2 RBI single.

From there, the game became a back-and-forth bullpen affair. With that said, the visiting Chinooks were always one step ahead. Lakeshore scored three in the fifth, one in the seventh, one in the eighth, and two in the ninth, as Growlers relievers Luke Pappas and Nolan Lepkoske  struggled to consistently find the strike zone. Luke Scoles allowed his pair of runs in the ninth after another Growlers error on a potential double play ball.

The Growlers’ bats did try to eat into the deficit at times. Luke Storm hit a mammoth 392-foot solo home run in the seventh. Dylan Stanton also marked his Growlers debut with a 2 RBI single in the ninth, but it was not enough to overcome the pitching and defensive woes from earlier in the game.

Kalamazoo’s record now sits at 4-5, with another chance against the Chinooks, Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m. ET from Homer Stryker Field.