BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – Despite Matthew Acosta homering for the second straight game, the Green Bay Bullfrogs baseball team is still seeking its first win of the second half of the season.
Acosta’s two-run homer wasn’t enough in the ‘Frogs 5-4 loss to the Kalamazoo Growlers in a Northwoods League game July 6 at Joannes.
Green Bay (12-27, 0-3) had a chance to tie or win in the ninth, but a strikeout with runners at first and third ended the game in front of a large crowd.
“All you ask for is a chance to win the game in the end,” said Green Bay manager Kirk Shrider. “We gave ourselves a chance to do that, but in the end, good teams take advantage of mistakes, and Kalamazoo did that. It’s nice to be in a situation where a base hit could have left the other team on the field for another inning … that’s what you hope for. We had multiple chances to win the game, even before the ninth.”
Acosta, a sophomore at USC, drilled a 1-0 pitch over the rightfield fence in the third to put the Bullfrogs up 4-2, but the Growlers (25-10, 1-2) ended the night by scoring the last three runs to win their first game of the second half.
“Acosta is a big-time Division 1 baseball player from the PAC 12,” Shrider said. “He has a lot of skill and his baseball instincts are where they need to be successful. He has experience playing there as a two-year starter and has played in games in front of big crowds. He’s definitely trying to win a ballgame and competing every inning. It’s hard to find guys like that.”
Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo (Navarro College) scored ahead of Acosta’s homer after he led off the inning with a single.
After Kalamazoo had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Green Bay jumped ahead 2-1 in the second when Luke Robinson (Western Carolina) ripped a double to lead off the inning. He was advanced to third on a groundout and scored on an error. Brian Davis’ (Gordon State College) sacrifice fly plated Andre Antone (UC Irvine) for the second run of the inning.
Another key sequence of the game came in the Growlers’ half of the fourth.
They loaded the bases with nobody out on three straight walks off starting pitcher McKinley Moore (Arkansas – Little Rock). Ben Keizer (Michigan) relieved and surrendered just one run the rest of the inning to keep the ‘Frogs up 4-3.
Kalamazoo would get a pair of runs in the seventh and never trailed again.
Robinson and Alejandro Gonzalez (Hillsborough CC) each had two hits for Green Bay, who outhit the victors by an 8-6 margin.
David Toth (Hillsdale College) took the loss on the mound, giving up two runs in his two innings of work.
The ‘Frogs are 0-5 this season against the Growlers. The two teams will close out the two-game series with a 6:35 contest tonight at Joannes.
Kalamazoo: 101 100 200 – 5 6 2
Green Bay: 022 000 000 – 4 8 0