KOKOMO, Ind. — Larry Balkwill hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Chicago Dogs bullpen held down the fort late to give their team its first comeback win of 2019. The Dogs won, 6-4, clinching the series against the Milwaukee Milkmen on Saturday at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
The blast was Balkwill’s first of the season and proved to be the difference. As a team, the Dogs have ten home runs this season, the most in the American Association.
The Milkmen offense started the contest with a vengeance, taking out their frustrations on Dogs starter Trevor Simms. Nolan Earley, Garrett Copeland and Jose Rosario whacked three straight doubles to start the bottom of the first inning, plating two quick runs. After a walk and a hit batter, Simms worked out of the bases-loaded jam to end the frame.
Milwaukee added one more run on an Adam Walker solo home run with two outs in the third after an impressive 3-6-3 double play started by Keon Barnum cleared the bases.
Chicago responded in the top of the fourth as Kelly Dugan grounded out to second, scoring Edwin Arroyo to reward him for his leadoff double. Arroyo finished the day 2-for-4 with a walk.
Defensively, the Dogs dialed up a heads-up 2-4-2 putout in the fourth. With Dexter at third and Earley at first, Milkmen manager Gary McClure put on a delayed double steal, baiting the throw from catcher Balkwill down to second base. Edwin Arroyo cut off the throw and rifled it right back to Balkwill to nab the speedy Dexter, saving a run that would have stretched the Milkmen lead to four.
Simms finished the night with four innings of work, surrendering seven hits and four earned runs while striking out five.
In the sixth inning, the Dogs cut the score to 4-2 with another RBI groundout, this one off the bat of Trey Vavra. That one scored Harrison Smith, who extended his season-long hitting streak to seven.
One inning later, the Dogs fell to two quick outs but chased Milkmen starter T.J. House after a Victor Roache single. Right-hander Zach Hartman (L, 0-1) came on in relief and immediately allowed Jordan Dean to reach with a single of his own. One batter later Larry Balkwill delivered his go-ahead opposite-field blast on a 3-2 pitch.
The Dogs added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double by Smith, plating Dean for his second time in the contest.
The Chicago bullpen put together a dominant five innings of work as Ryan Thurston (W, 1-0), Ben Allison and Rich Mascheri combined to surrender just one hit and striking out five, allowing the Dogs to cruise to a 6-4 win over the Milkmen.
The Dogs wrap up the series against the Milkmen on Sunday in Kokomo. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 PM Central. The Dogs tab Jake Dahlberg for the finale, while the Milkmen hand the ball to Zac Westcott. Fans can tune in to The Chicago Dogs Baseball Network for an audio feed of every Dogs road game. Team broadcaster Sam Brief will have the call. For more updates, follow @TheChicagoDogs on social media and use the hashtag #TakeABite.