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Yarnall is Grand as Schaefer and Growlers Lock Down Chinooks

MEQUON, WI – Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh) launched a grand slam in the third inning, and that was all the offense Cole Schaefer (Costal Carolina) and the bullpen needed as the Kalamazoo Growlers topped the Lakeshore Chinooks 4-2 on Tuesday night at Kapco Park.

With no score through two innings, John Soteropulos (California) drew a leadoff walk to begin the third. Marquise Gill (Eastern Michigan) and Justin Fletcher (Northern Illinois) followed with back-to-back singles to load up the bases, bringing up Yarnall (Pittsburgh) two batters later. The Landisville, PA native jumped on a 1-0 pitch from Kevin Long (Lehigh) and sent a rocket out to right field that fought the wind coming in from Lake Michigan and just poked over the fence. The grand slam was Yarnall’s fifth home run of the season and second in as many days to give the Growlers (5-11, 13-36) a 4-0 lead.

Schaefer (2-1) used the cushion to cruise through 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk. Portage Central's own struck out four on 80 pitches to earn his second victory in 10 days over the Chinooks (7-11, 24-26).

Lakeshore chased Schaefer from the game in the sixth when Jack Benninghoff (Arkansas) brought home two runs on a double. TJ Cerven (KVCC/GVSU) then came on with a strikeout and a snag of an Anthony Massicci (Canisius) line drive to end the frame. Nathan Coakley (St. Francis, IN) relieved Cerven in the seventh and forced Colby Fitch (Louisville) to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Coakley handed the baton off to Nick Wernke (West Virginia) for a four-out save in the eighth. Wernke froze Massicci to strand two in the eighth inning, then after issuing a couple walks in the ninth, Fitch again bounced into a double play, this one of the 6-4-3 variety to end the ballgame. The save was Wernke’s fifth of the summer.

Long (1-2) took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in five innings. Parker Sanburn (Arkansas) and Jack Landwehr (Illinois State) combined to keep the Growlers off the board for the final four innings.

Fletcher singled for three of Kalamazoo’s 10 hits in the game. Bryce Adams (Delgado College/LSU) had two hits, while Soteropulos reached base in all five of his trips to the plate (single, two walks, two hit-by-pitches).

Benninghoff doubled twice for Lakeshore, while Doug Kraeger (Richmond) doubled and scored and Zarley Zalewski (Kent State) picked up two hits.

Both teams had plenty of chances to add to their run total but fell victim to lockdown pitching. The Growlers left 15 men on base and the Chinooks came close by leaving 14 aboard.

Kalamazoo’s win is its first official victory on the road since a 5-1 six-inning decision in Wisconsin Rapids on June 8. The team’s July 1 win at Madison has since been vacated.

The Growlers try for the sweep of the Chinooks on Wednesday night. First pitch from Kapco Park is set for 7:35 p.m. EDT.

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