FLORENCE, Ky. — Florence scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to overtake Traverse City and pull out a 4-3 victory on Tuesday in the first game of a Frontier League series.
Joe Staley singled home Buddy Sosnoskie with the tying run and then scored what ended up being the game-winner on Sam Eberle’s single. Both runs came with two outs off Beach Bums closer D.J. Johnson, who came on in relief of Will Rankin. The inning started with Rob Kelly reaching on a single off Rankin, then scoring on Sosnoskie’s double that caused the Bums to look to Johnson in the bullpen. Staley led the Freedom with two hits and two RBIs.
The Beach Bums had runners on first and third with one out in the ninth but couldn’t bring anyone home. Traverse City stranded 10 runners on base.
Traverse City had led the entire game heading to the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a three-run first inning that was made possible by three straight doubles by Jeff DeBlieux, Jose Vargas and Yazy Arbelo. DeBlieux’s two-bagger drove in the first run and Arbelo brought home two runs. DeBlieux had the big bat for the Beach Bums, going 4 for 4, including two doubles. Rob Benedict added two hits, with one being a double. Arbelo and Shaun Cooper also had two-hit games.
In his first outing of the year Traverse City starter Tanner Tripp went six strong innings, holding the Freedom to one run — coming in the bottom of first inning — on five hits, with seven strikeouts.
Daniel DeSimone was the winning pitcher. He came on in relief of starter Peter Gehle to start the seventh inning. Gehle allowed eight hits and struck out five. DeSimone only gave up one hit and one walk and struck out two. Jorge Marban worked the ninth to get the save.
The win kept Florence undefeated (4-0), while Traverse City dropped to 1-3. The Beach Bums will look to get back on track when they send out Patrick Merkling to start tonight’s game. Chuck Weaver will start for Florence.