The Kalamazoo Valley Cougars earned two big baseball wins Tuesday at home, defeating the Lansing Stars 9-8 and 5-3 in a MCCAA Western vs Eastern Conference doubleheader. The wins give the Cougars a five-game winning streak over Lansing, adding to the three victories over the Stars last season, and gives them a three-game overall win streak entering a big weekend showdown with Kellogg.
The Cougars had to dig out of a six-run hole in the first game. The Stars started hot with a four-run first inning. The Cougars scored twice in the third, but Lansing plated one in the third, two in the fourth, and another one in the fifth for an 8-2 advantage. In the bottom of the fifth, Kalamazoo Valley strung together six hits and drew three walks, giving them seven runs and a 9-8 lead. Relievers Justyn Schoening and Joey Knapp retired the final six batters in order to secure the victory.
The offense was a balanced effort, with their ten hits spread between eight hitters and the runs between eight as well. Jake Ellis and Brennan Vaughn each had two hits, Jimmy Cook had two runs, and Jarrett Esman, Colton White, and Austin Pratt picked up two RBI each. Six pitchers took to the mound for the Cougars, while only two saw action for the Stars. Starter Duncan Gillett allowed all nine runs through four-and-a-third. Drew Cantrell picked up three RBI and a run with two hits and Ethan Vosburg had a solo home run and RBI double.
Kalamazoo Valley started ahead in game two with Dugan Dieselberg bringing home Alec Washegesic after a lead-off hit. Lansing tied the game with a run in the second and had bases loaded with only one out, but Tyler Appelgren entered in relief and kept the game even. A solo run in the third put the Cougars back ahead, but the Stars took control off a two-run bomb by Jake Crum in the fifth. A lead-off error and small-ball allowed the Cougars to tie it at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Two walks and a hit batsmen in the bottom of the sixth set up Ryan Anderson for what would be the game-winning two RBI single.
The wins move Kalamazoo Valley to 17-14 overall with four games ahead for the weekend against Kellogg. The Cougars are third in the Western Conference at 12-4 with Kellogg in the top spot at 16-0. You can listen to all four games of the series live on the Slocum Sports Network with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Friday from Battle Creek, then a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. Saturday in Kalamazoo.
Lansing drops to 27-11 overall. The Stars are 15-5 for second in the Eastern Conference and meet conference leader Jackson (16-4) for four this weekend. Friday’s doubleheader is at 2 p.m. in Lansing, followed by Saturday’s games in Jackson starting at 1 p.m.
Listen back to Tuesday’s games below: