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Wild One in Green Bay Ends with Bullfrogs Topping Growlers

GREEN BAY, WI – In a game that saw three ties, three lead changes, and three balks, the Kalamazoo Growlers ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, falling to the Green Bay Bullfrogs 8-6 on Thursday night at Joannes Stadium.

The craziness began in the bottom of the fourth inning in a 1-1 ballgame. Brian Celsi (California) led off with a walk, stole second, and scored on a single by Mikey Duarte (UC-Irvine). With men on second and third and none out, Kalamazoo starter Cole Schaefer (Coastal Carolina) soft-tossed over to Jordan Stading (Houston), who was standing too far off of third base, resulting in a balk to force in Duarte and make it 3-1. Two batters later, Schaefer forced Matthew De La Rosa (Lenoir-Rhyne) to fly out to left field, and Nick Yarnall threw out Ryan Donovan (Hofstra) at the plate to end the frame.

The Growlers (3-8, 11-33) responded with a big fifth inning. Johnny Ruiz (Miami) walked and Kory Brown (Bowling Green) singled to lead it off, then Stading walked with one out to force Sam Brunner (Dayton) from the game. Adam Rude (UW-Oshkosh) entered from the bullpen and on his first motion tripped off the mound to balk in Ruiz. Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) added insult to injury with a liner to right to score two and give Kalamazoo a 4-3 lead.

The Bullfrogs (6-3, 28-16) tied it in their half of the fifth on a Danny Rosenbaum (Louisville) single. Then came a sixth inning that saw six runs between the two ball clubs. In Kalamazoo’s half, Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) got off an 0-for-32 skid with a two-run single to left center, making it 6-4. Green Bay did the Growlers two better, though, in their half of the sixth. After a walk and a double, Ty Blankmeyer (St. John’s) hit a sac fly to right. Two batters later, Robb Paller (Columbia) hit a soft fly ball down the left field line that bounced out of a diving Yarnall’s glove, resulting in a two-run double. Paller went to third on a Danny Rosenbaum single, then Kalamazoo reliever Nathan Coakley (St. Francis, IN) faked a throw to first base from the rubber, forcing in Paller with balk number three to give the game its final margin.

Jack Mahan (Eckerd College, 1-0) wrapped up his first decision with 2.1 scoreless innings out of the pen. Coakley (1-3) was saddled with the loss, giving up a pair of runs in just a third of a frame. Jeremy Graf (St. Petersburg College) earned his ninth save of the year as the Growlers left a man on second.

Kalamazoo opened the scoring in the second as Alex Gosser singled, went to third on a pair of outs, and came home on a wild pitch by Brunner. Green Bay evened it up on Paller’s RBI single in the third.

Fletcher paced the Growler offence by going 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. Nick Yarnall also drove in two. Bryce Adams (Delgado College/LSU) upped his hitting streak to four games by going 2-for-4 with a run.

Paller led the Bullfrog charge with three hits and three runs driven in. Rosenbaum went 2-for-5 with an RBI, and pinch-runner Caleb Ratzman (Illinois State) stole his Northwoods League-leading 30th base in the seventh inning.

The Growlers complete their four-game road trip with one more in Green Bay on Friday night. First pitch from Joannes Stadium is set for 8:05 p.m. EDT.

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-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