The Normal CornBelters fell in 10 innings Wednesday night to the Traverse City Beach Bums 6-5 at the Corn Crib. The CornBelters (35-39) remain in third place in the Frontier League West Division and the Beach Bums (39-35) stay in second in the East.
Normal trailed until a late run in the 8th forced the game to extra innings.. Traverse City pushed the winning run across in the 10th, as Matt Brown singled to lead off the inning against Jacob Liedka. He stole second and third, and with two outs, Jeff Flagg singled on a full count to bring Brown home. Normal put a runner on in the 10th but saw the game end on a double play..
Scott Mueller (W, 2-1) and Jacob Liedka (L, 2-3) were the pitchers of record, both out of the bullpen. Ryan Sheldon (ND) surrendered five runs on five hits and struck out three Beach Bums in seven innings pitched. Scott Dunn (ND) went 4.2 innings and gave up four earned runs.
The CornBelters scored in the 1st inning without recording a hit. Alvaro Ramirez was hit by a pitch and stole second, followed by a walk to Brandon Newton. Both runners moved up on a groundout, as Steve Alexander then drove in Ramirez with another groundout.
Normal added on in the 2nd when a single and throwing error allowed Mike Mobbs to reach second base with nobody out. Mark Samuelson picked up an RBI single to bring Mobbs around for a 2-0 CornBelters lead.
Traverse City was hitless against Ryan Sheldon until a productive 4th inning. Brown lined a leadoff single to right, and was chased home on a two-run homer from Jose Vargas to even the score 2-2. Flagg and Chase Burch each singled to set up a ground-rule double from Greg Burns that gave the Beach Bums a 3-2 edge. A sacrifice fly from Tom Zebroski scored Burch, and an infield error allowed Burns to score making it 5-2.
Frank Martinez brought the Belters closer in the 5th with a two-run home run after a single from Ramirez. Another Normal hit and walk forced Scott Dunn out of the ballgame. Jeff Cinadr entered from the bullpen and stranded both baserunners to end the frame.
It wasn't until the 8th inning that another came across for Normal to tie the game. Daniel Cox reached on a hit-by-pitch, as Samuelson singled to move Cox to third. Ramirez chopped a ball up the middle that was fielded but the forceout was not made at second base, allowing Cox to score.
The teams wrap up the series at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Corn Crib, as Bryan Banes (8-1, 2.60) starts for the Beach Bums against Normal's Matt Mossey (1-0, 3.86).