A six-game road trip began on a sour note for the Normal CornBelters giving up eight unanswered runs as the Traverse City Beach Bums defeated Normal 8-5 on Tuesday night at Wuerfel Park in Traverse City, Michigan.
The CornBelters wasted no time scoring, as Alvaro Ramirez lined a broken-bat double off the first baseman's mitt on the game's first pitch, then scored when Brandon Newton singled up the middle.
The Belters pushed three more across in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead, all with two outs. Tyler Keeble and A.J. Miller singled, and both scored on a triple to the right field corner by Alvaro Ramirez. Brandon Newton placed a double down the right line to score Ramirez.
Traverse City took advantage of some wildness to score in the fifth. After facing just one over the minimum through four innings, Tyler Lavigne walked the bases loaded. One run scored on a ground ball, but a strong double play turn by Frank Martinez, Brandon Newton and Steve Alexander limited the Beach Bums to the single run to keep the CornBelter lead at 4-1 through five innings.
The Beach Bums tied the game at 4-4 when they loaded the bases again on Tyler Lavigne with two outs. Lavigne left after going 3-0 to Greg Burns, giving way to Andy Mee, who walked Burns on the next pitch to score the Bums' second run. Tom Zebroski then hit a 3-1 pitch down the right field line to score two more to tie the game after six innings.
The Bums loaded the bases for the third straight inning in the seventh and pushed three more across. Two singles and a walk set the stage for Jose Vargas to clear the bases with a three-run double with one out to put the hosts up 7-4.
Another Beach Bums run scored in the eighth, as Greg Burns led off with a walk, stole second, went to third on a throwing error and came home on a base hit by Hector Bernal to build the lead to 8-4.
The CornBelters picked up one run in the ninth when Asif Shah tripled to center and came home on a Tyler McNeely sacrifice fly.
David Nathanson picked up the complete game win to improve to 1-1, surrendering nine CornBelters hits while walking one and striking out four. Andy Mee (1-1) took the loss.
The series continues at 6 p.m. Central on Wednesday as right-hander Bobby Pritchett (5-3, 4.38) starts for the CornBelters against Beach Bums righty Matt Smith (1-4, 6.15).