Kalamazoo, MI – After a tough loss on Tuesday, the Chinooks get their first win of the season by topping the Growlers 3-1 on Wednesday, splitting the two game series and carrying much needed momentum into their next series against Waterloo.
Pitching proved to be the difference maker for Lakeshore, as starting pitcher Joey Abraham (Vanderbilt) picked up his first win of the season and reliever Keenan Bartlett (Richmond) grinded out his first save of the year.
Battling control issues early in the game that resulted in five walks and two hit batters, Abraham eventually settled down and was able to work his way out of some stressful situations. His experience in the SEC was noticeable on Wednesday, as the Vanderbilt hurler appeared virtually unfazed with runners in scoring position. Through his five innings of work, he managed to strand an impressive eight Growlers, striking out five and giving up only one run on three hits in a rocky, yet remarkable inaugural appearance for the Chinooks.
Bartlett took over in relief during the sixth when Liam Jenkins (Arizona State), who replaced Abraham, hit the lead off batter and walked the second batter of the inning. From then on the right-hander out of Richmond demonstrated his composure, giving up no runs on two hits and stranding five Growlers in his masterful four inning debut performance for the Chinooks.
Lakeshore also got the job done with their bats against the Growlers pitching staff. Catcher Hayden Senger (Miami-Ohio) continued to stay hot by going 2-4 on the day, driving a double off the wall in the second inning and bashing a base hit to right in the sixth. With another productive day at the plate, Senger leads the team in hits with three through the first two games of the year.
Kalamazoo starting pitcher Kevin Marnon (Ball State) held the Chinooks to no runs through the first four innings. Then in the fifth, left fielder Alex Woinski (Lafayette) kicked started the offense with a single, followed by a good at bat by right fielder Austin Jones (UW-Whitewater) that resulted in a walk and runners on first and second for Lakeshore. Growlers reliever Drake Hermann (Pittsburg State) was brought in to control the damage, but designated hitter Jake Kolasinski (UW-Parkside) put the Chinooks on the board by roping a RBI single to left field that scored Woinski easily from second.
In that same inning, after a sacrifice bunt by Joe Duncan (Eastern Illinois) moved the runners to second and third, second baseman Alec Olund (Purdue) slapped a hard ground ball to the right side of the infield, and in the process scored Jones from third base to record the second run of the game for Lakeshore. The Chinooks failed to tack on more runs in the sixth after the RBI ground out by Olund, but their offensive prowess did not end there.
In the ninth, after pinch hitter Marshall Kasowski (Houston) and Alex Woinski were issued consecutive walks, Alec Olund stepped up yet again to knock a line drive single into left field, scoring Kasowski from second to give the Chinooks a 3-1 lead. Olund, the Purdue Boilermakers' stand out infielder, finished with two RBI’s on the day, providing Keenan Bartlett with a healthy cushion to secure the win for the Chinooks down the stretch.
Kalamazoo’s Kevin Marnon was issued the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in his four innings of work. He managed to strike out two, but his control problems in the fifth resulted in two of his three walks on the day, ultimately leading to the downfall for the Growlers as Lakeshore capitalized offensively on their mistakes.
The Chinooks hope to keep their winning streak alive as they continue their road trip to face the Waterloo Bucks on Thursday and Friday. The team returns to Kapco Park for their home opener against the Green Bay Bullfrogs on Saturday, then they travel to Green Bay to play the Bullfrogs on Sunday.
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