TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City’s defensive problems persisted Wednesday night.
The Beach Bums committed two errors, leading to two unearned runs, in a 3-2 setback to the Evansville Otters in the first of two Frontier League games at Wuerfel Park. Traverse City dropped the nightcap 1-0, extending its losing streak to six games. The Beach Bums (11-18) had just four hits in the two seven-inning contests.
Sloppy defensive play factored into the game one loss.
“That’s been the story of our last 10 games,” manager Dan Rohn said. “We haven’t been able to catch the ball. We have to do a better job catching the ball, throwing the ball. We’re just not doing it, bottom line.”
Traverse City’s committed 43 errors in 29 games. The miscues have led to 43 unearned runs.
The Beach Bums wasted a strong outing from starter Casey Delgado, who was locked in a pitching duel with Evansville’s Chad James, in the opener. Delgado carried a 2-1 lead into the top of the seventh, but leftfielder Taylor Wrenn misplayed Nik Balog’s leadoff fly into a two-base error. That prompted Rohn to bring in closer D.J. Johnson. The move backfired when Johnson surrendered a game-tying double to Chris Sweeney. After Sweeney was sacrificed to second, Cory Urquhart hit a two-out slow chopper that shortstop Denver Chavez could not make a play on. The infield single scored Sweeney.
James, meanwhile, held the Beach Bums to an infield single in his six-inning stint. The 6-4 lefthander, a former first-round pick of the Marlins, struck out nine. James carried 1-2 record into the contest with a 7.66 ERA. But he looked dominant facing a Beach Bums squad decimated by injuries.
Traverse City scored its two runs in the fourth when James — who has had control problems — walked three consecutive batters to load the bases with one out. Chris Cowell tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center, then Jeff DeBlieux followed with an infield single that Otters second baseman Josh Allen had no play on. Allen momentarily lost the ball and that allowed Jovan Rosa, who was on second before the hit, to race in with the go-ahead run. That infield hit was all Traverse City could muster.