By CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Beach Bums took two frustrating nights out on the Frontier Greys on Friday night.
The Beach Bums salvaged the final game of the three-game series, clubbing 11 hits — seven for extra bases — in a dominating 10-1 Frontier League win at Wuerfel Park.
Traverse City's offense gave more than enough support to starter Scott Dunn, who set a franchise record for career wins with his 27th victory in a Beach Bums uniform, passing David Nathanson. Dunn, who went seven innings to become just the third Traverse City pitcher with more than 300 innings pitched, improved to 12-0 on the season, scattering six hits, walking one and striking out three.
"Super again," Traverse City manager Gregg Langbehn said of his ace. "He always gives you a chance to win. I thought he made some really good adjustments after the first four hitters of the game."
Dunn had a little trouble to begin the night, allowing back-to-back two-out doubles that plated the Greys only run and prompting a quick visit by Langbehn.
"I thought they were really comfortable hitting," Langbehn said. "Obviously, the first two days I didn't think we did a good enough job establishing the inside portion of the plate. (The visit was) just pitching stuff. I think he got the message. Just a reminder. They're not afraid of us. They're getting up there and taking their hacks. I thought from that point forward he did a much better job."
In fact, including a strikeout to end the first inning, Dunn retired eight straight batters.
"Dunn was good," said Traverse City catcher Marcus Nidiffer. "He threw the ball down. First inning he just had to get settled in. He gave them one (run), then he was perfect every other inning. That's what he does. He comes right at guys. He's a bulldog and I love him. You think 'can you get one more (win)?' and he does. Then 'can you get another one?' Yep, and he keeps going and going. It's amazing. I haven't looked at the stats, but he's got to be one of the only undefeated pitchers still pitching in professional baseball. It's pretty impressive."
Frontier starter Matt Costello was able to keep the Traverse City bats quiet until the third inning. Nidiffer ripped a triple and scored the tying run when the throw to third ended up in the Beach Bums dugout. Costello went 5.1 innings, allowing six hits and two walks. Four other pitchers followed him out of the bullpen and none were able to slow down Traverse City's attack.
Traverse City took the lead in the fifth as Ryan Still walked and Matt Howard ripped a two-run homer to left. A four-run sixth was highlighted by Jeremy Banks' bases-clearing triple and in the eighth it was a two-run double by Nidiffer and an RBI double from Still that brought in the final runs.
"Pick the best pitch and be really patient," Nidiffer said of the Beach Bums' mindset at the plate. "That's kind of tough for our team because we're really an aggressive team, but that was our approach. When that happens you put the ball in play and good things happen."
Nick Capito came in for Dunn in the eighth and worked the final two innings, giving up two hits, walking one and striking out one.
Traverse City's lead in the East Division had shrunk to two games after the pair of losses to the Greys, but Friday's win, combined with Florence's loss, put the Beach Bums up three games on the Freedom in the division race. After a six-game homestand, the Beach Bums head to Lake Erie for three games, starting tonight.
"It was a slap in the face (the two losses) and you really want to get one before you hit the road again," said Nidiffer. "It was big for us to get that, especially with it being Friday night fireworks and everybody's watching. You want to do something for everybody at home."