BY DENNIS CHASE email@example.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City picked an opportune time for its first sweep of the Southern Illinois Miners in club history .
Jake Sabol and Kyle Teague combined on a four-hit shutout as the Beach Bums took care of business Friday night with a 7-0 Frontier League win over the Miners at Wuerfel Park.
Traverse City, now 43-29, stretched its lead in the East Division to 2.5 games over idle Lake Erie. Southern Illinois and Florence fell four games off the pace. The Miners came into the three-game series here trailing the Beach Bums by just a game.
“They’re a good team,” Beach Bums shortstop Sean Gusrang said. “This is a big rivalry. It’s always good to take a series from them, even better to sweep. Great job by our pitching staff.”
Beach Bums pitchers allowed just one run in the three games.
Sabol surrendered two singles in the first and then did not give up another hit until the sixth. Teague came on in the seventh.
Sabol was backed by two crowd-pleasing defensive plays. Rightfielder Matt Howard made a running catch of a foul ball off the bat of Cannon Lester to end the fourth, tumbling over the bullpen fence in the process. In the sixth, Gusrang made a lunging grab of a liner to rob Carlos Mendez of a single.
“Those were great plays, hustle plays,” leftfielder Carlo Testa said.
Sabol, who raised his record to 8-5, was staked to a 4-0 lead in the first. Chase Burch knocked in the first run when he flared a single to right. Zach Kometani picked up the second RBI with a bases-loaded walk. Gusrang then delivered a two-run single, the last of the four hits in the frame.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit and follow the trend of the guys in front of me,” Gusrang said.
The Beach Bums picked up a solo run in the fifth when Howard singled, took second on a pass ball, stole third and came home a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jose Vargas.
The final two runs were plated in the seventh when Burch walked, Testa tripled and Kometani hit a sacrifice fly. Testa finished with three hits — a single, double and triple — scored two runs and drove in one.
He came in hitting just .205 in his last 10 games.
“I’ve been struggling lately so I’m trying to keep it simple,” Testa said. “I’m working on things and getting back to where I should be. It was good to have a big game and get some momentum going.”
Traverse City had nine hits. Howard added two.
The Miners best scoring chance came in the sixth when, with two on, Cory Harrilchak belted a long fly to right that Howard tracked down at the wall.
Preston Vancil, one of three All-Stars for the Miners, suffered the loss, giving up five runs in five innings of work.
Traverse City will host Gateway in a three-game set, starting tonight. The Grizzlies lead the West Division.