The resilient Wisconsin Woodchucks did it again.
After the Kalamazoo Growlers (8-11, 21-33) had tied Thursday night’s game 5-5 off a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning, Woodchucks’ first baseman Brendon Hayden led off the seventh inning with a sharp single to right field. Third baseman Paul DeJong wasted no time in taking advantage, blasting his league-leading 15th homerun of the year, a two-run, game-winning shot that gave Wisconsin (13-8, 31-24) a 7-5 advantage, a lead they would hold onto.
DeJong’s 15th homerun was not only the game winning hit, it also gives him the title of being the Woodchucks’ career leader in homeruns. The Illinois State product broke the single-season record for homers earlier this year.
There was a lot of offense early in this one, as the Woodchucks scored two in the top of the first inning on three hits. Kalamazoo countered in a big way in the bottom half, scoring four runs and sending ten to the plate, forcing Woodchucks’ starter Parker Dunshee out of the game before the frame ended.
However, southpaw John Roberts came in out of the Chucks’ bullpen and recorded the final out of the first, as well as four more scoreless frames in relief.
The win went to Chucks reliever Seth Davis, who improved to 3-2 by firing two innings, surrendering one run on three hits, striking out two and walking one. Lefties Austin Tribby and John Oltman fired scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, with Oltman tallying his fifth save of the year.
Offensively, the Chucks got at least one hit from every hitter in their lineup, including multiple-hit efforts from center fielder Taylor Kohlwey (2-for-5), catcher Zach Arnold (2-for-5), designated hitter Jake Scudder (2-for-3), and second baseman Nate Mondou (2-for-4). DeJong led the RBI-charge, tallying three on the night.
The Woodchucks are back in action Friday night in the finale of their two-game set with the Growlers. First pitch from Homer Stryker Field is scheduled for 6:05 P.M.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwood’s League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwood’s 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, more than 115 Northwood’s League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwood’s League YouTube channel. For more information, visit woodchucks.com.