BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – This night belonged to Green Bay Bullfrogs’ starting pitcher Jason Applegate.
The Villanova standout pitched seven strong innings in the ‘Frogs 3-1 victory over the Kenosha Kingfish in a Northwoods League game July 30 at Joannes Stadium.
Applegate gave up just two hits and no runs in one of his most dominated performances of the season. He struck out two, walked one and lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.90. He finished the game by retiring the last 12 Kingfish he faced.
“I had all three of my pitches working tonight,” said Applegate, who improved to 3-2 on the season. “I just like helping the team out – they played really well behind me defensively. This summer has been a good time. You learn a lot about yourself and whether you can play at this level – I believe I can. Physically I feel good and we are getting down to the end here.”
Green Bay (23-36 overall, 11-12 second half) has just 13 games remaining, of which only five are at Joannes.
Riley Mihalik (Rider) continued his hot hitting of late, as he knocked in a pair in the third with a two-run single. It was Mihalik’s ninth hit in his last six games.
“It was probably one of our cleanest games we’ve played all season as far as baseball,” said Green Bay manager Kirk Shrider. “Applegate got ahead of batters, got quick outs and pounded the zone – he pitched smart. Our infield was also engaged in the game and Riley had the two-out, clutch base hit.”
Ben Keizer (Michigan) finished up on the mound and gave up an RBI groundout in the eighth, but the ‘Frogs added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning by manufacturing a run.
After Preston Pavlica (Grand Canyon University) led off the inning with a triple to the right-center gap, a strikeout by Mihalik brought up Andre Antone (UC Irvine) with one out. Shrider called for the suicide squeeze and Antone executed it perfectly to make it 3-1.
“Preston can run, but that was a good hustle play to get us started (in the eighth),” added Shrider. “Even though you never want to make the first out of an inning at third, I liked him chancing it there. He runs well and is a smart baserunner. I gave Riley a chance to knock (Pavlica) in, but after that, I wasn’t going to wait. I asked Antone during the timeout how good of a bunter he was, and he said, ‘good enough to get the run in.’ That’s the type of thing I love to see – take some ownership. Keizer did the same thing in the ninth – I told him he was coming out of the game and he said, ‘no, I’m going back out there.’ It was good to see.”
Blaise Maris (Florida Tech), Adrian Damla (UC Irvine) and Keaton Smith (University of Nevada) had the other hits for Green Bay.
The two teams will square off again tonight at Joannes at 7:05 to conclude the two-game series.