Lose 3-2 At Hands Of Growlers
Kalamazoo, Mich.-A day after the two teams battled in 14-11 slugfest, Thursday’s matchup between the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (6-18) and the Kalamazoo Growlers (10-14) played in a contest where runs were at a premium. Kalamazoo defeated the Rafters in a 3-2 game that came down to the wire.
Making his next start after cruising to pitcher of the night honors in his debut appearance, Zach Jackson (Arkansas) battled through his five innings of work. The Growlers got to Jackson right off the bat, as John Rubino (Eastern Michigan) led off the off the bottom of the first with a triple. He would later score on a wild pitch thrown by the Rafters’ righty. Rubino was a spark plug at the top of the Kalamazoo lineup as he also contributed a RBI double in the 3rd.
Jesse Puscheck (Canisius) added a home run in the 5th that would end up being the difference. Wisconsin Rapids struggled with Growlers’ starter Ryan Smoyer (Notre Dame). The right- hander went 7.1 innings pitched while scattering 6 hits and allowing a single earned run. Smoyer let his defense do the work for him as he struck out only 3 Rafters.
The Rafters would continue to battle though, as they would tack on a run in the 7th and the 8th. Woody Woodward (UC Santa Barbara) would produce a clutch two out RBI double to pull the Rafters within one in the 8th. The Rafters thought they might have tied it in the ninth when Michael Jurgella (St. Cloud State) launched a Shane Bryant (Purdue) pitch off the wall in left center. However, with Campbell Wear (UC Santa Barbara) at the plate with a 3-0 count, Jurgella was picked off second thus ending the rally and the ballgame.
The Rafters continue their Michigan road trip tomorrow as they take on the Battle Creek Bombers at 6:05 CST.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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 Northwoods 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 Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.raftersbaseball.com.