TRAVERSE CITY — Pitching was the difference between Traverse City and Lake Erie on Friday night.
While the Beach Bums got a good start out of Mike Devine and a solid relief effort from Burny Mitchem, Lake Erie’s four hurlers struggled with walks as Traverse City took a 7-3 victory in front of a season-high 4,833 fans at Wuerfel Park.
Devine (2-1) pitched a perfect game through the first four innings and ended up allowing three hits, walking two and striking out a career-high seven in 5.1 innings. Mitchem came on in the sixth and, though he let one inherited runner to score, he held the Crushers to no hits in his 3.2 innings of work.
“Start with Devine first. That was encouraging,” said Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn. “He’s had some outings, we’re trying to get him through that fifth and sixth innings. He was awesome, threw sharp. Maybe the extended offensive innings for us cut into his rhythm a bit, I don’t know. He’s had a few starts where he’s had five innings and that’s it. One other time he went into the sixth. He was sharper earlier. His secondary pitches were better. Burny was awesome. He kept his pitch count down. It’s nice because he’s got a starter’s background so we can extend him when we’ve needed him. He’s been a big part of the success of our bullpen. They’ve been really good.”
Lake Erie starter Alex Kaminsky struggled with control early and, along with the next two pitchers that entered the game for the Crushers, combined for six walks. Kaminsky’s control issues led to Traverse City’s first two runs as he walked Matt Howard and D’Marcus Ingram back-to-back with the bases loaded.