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Schuman Opens Skies, Growlers Close Road Trip with Win

Photo by Kimberly MossWISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI – The beneficiaries of favorable timing by Mother Nature, the Kalamazoo Growlers closed their six-game road trip with a 5-1 rain-shortened win against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. The game at Witter Field was called with one out in the top of the sixth inning.

The Growlers (4-10) struck first as Nick Yarnall (Northern Illinois) led off the second inning with a double. After going to third on a wild pitch, Yarnall came home on a sac fly to deep center by Max Schuman (Utah). The Rafters (6-6) threatened in their half of the second, but Kalamazoo starter Shane Bryant (Purdue) induced Max Widmar (Parkland College) into a 1-6-3 double play to erase the runner.

Ryan Slaughter (KVCC) beat out a two-out infield single to plate Ben Spieldenner (St. Joe’s) in the fourth. In Wisconsin Rapids’s half of the frame, Zach Domingues (Long Beach State) doubled and later scored on Ryan Cleveland’s (Georgia Southern) sac fly to make it 2-1.

With a storm on the horizon, the Growlers squeezed in three more runs in the top of the sixth. John Soteropulos (California) was hit by a pitch, then after a Spieldenner single two batters later, Schuman crushed a homer over the right center wall for his first longball of the season. The rains came moments later, and officials called the game half an hour later.

Bryant (1-1) earned the abbreviated complete-game victory by allowing one run on two hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out two on 69 pitches. Adam Hall (Xavier) took the loss for the Rafters, surrendering four runs on five hits in 5.1 innings. Michael Austin (Bethune-Cookman) gave up the home run to Schuman.

Schuman drove in four of the Growlers’ five runs, and Spieldenner scored two of them. By going 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch, Soteropulos saw his seven-game hitting streak come to an end.

Kalamazoo finishes its longest road trip with a 3-3 record. The Growlers will now return to the friendly confines of Homer Stryker Field for a six-game homestand, starting with a two-game set with the Kenosha Kingfish on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

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, visithttp://www.northwoodsleague.com