Gonzalez shuts down Woodchucks to give Growlers season series win
In the first seven games of the season against the Kalamazoo Growlers, the Wisconsin Woodchucks averaged a little more than six runs per game. Sunday afternoon, they managed just one. For the second straight game, a Growler pitcher made his first start of the year against Wisconsin, and for the second straight game, that pitcher shut the Woodchucks (24-42; 9-22) down in a 6-1 Growler (22-42; 13-17) win.
Wisconsin and Kalamazoo got into a pitcher’s duel early for the second game in a row. Chucks starter Zach Siggelkow gave up some hits but no runs until the fourth, when Ryan Orr and Stephen Dubb hit back-to-back doubles with two outs to put the Growlers up 1-0.
They didn’t stop there. LA Woodard led off the fifth with a single and Connor Hollis followed with one of his own. From there, the Growlers whipped out the small-ball game again as Jeff Riedel attempted a sacrifice bunt to third. Hunter Larson fielded the grounder but threw it past Mike Ferri at first, allowing Riedel to get to second and Woodard and Hollis to cross home. Riedel then stole third and scored on Jason Sullivan’s sac fly.
Two of those three runs were unearned, but the four-run lead was more than enough for Kalamazoo’s Zane Gonzalez, who completely shut down the Wisconsin offense over seven-plus dominant innings. The Chucks didn’t even have a hit until Chad Fleischman singled in the fifth, and they finally got a run in the next frame. Mike Ferri reached on an infield single and got to second on a throwing error by Michael Diffley, who then committed another error to allow Logan Foster to reach and Ferri to get to third. Hunter Coleman stepped in and singled Ferri home to get the Chucks on the board, but that unearned run was all they would get.
Drew Spaeth came in to relieve Siggelkow in the sixth and the Growlers picked up right where they left off. Matt Schwarz hit a one-out double and Woodard walked to put two on for Hollis, who singled into center to drive home Schwarz. Foster tried to throw home and Aaron Soucy fielded the offline toss and tried to throw out Hollis at second, allowing Woodard to score to make it 6-1.
Thomas Johnston tossed a perfect seventh and Trey Dawson turned a double play to get Orsen Josephina through a scoreless eighth, but the Woodchucks could not make up the ground. Two errors put two Woodchucks on base in the eighth to finally force Gonzalez out of the game, but Walter Talcott came in and struck out Coleman to end the threat. Dawson singled and stole second against Talcott in the ninth, but he got the next three men out to seal the deal in a 6-1 Kalamazoo win.
Wisconsin’s struggles in the middle innings continued in a big way Sunday. All of Kalamazoo’s runs came in innings five, six and seven, and the Woodchucks could not get anything going against Zane Gonzalez. In his first appearance of any kind this summer, the lefty tossed 7.2 innings with just one unearned run allowed, surrendering just three hits with five strikeouts against one walk to secure his first win of the summer.
The Woodchucks will try to get their offense going against one of the best offenses in the league as they head out to Kapco Park to take on the Lakeshore Chinooks. First pitch on Monday is scheduled for 6:35 PM CT.
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