05/13/2018 1:34 PM -
After putting up three runs in the second and one in the seventh, the Normal CornBelters would let the Beach Bums use a three-run eighth to take the opening series 5-4 on Sunday (May 13).
For the first time all weekend both teams remained scoreless after the first. The Beach Bums got on the board after Billy Roth surrendered a two-run home run in the fourth. The two-out home run was the only damage given up by the righty. Roth went six complete innings and retired Traverse City in order four times along with three strikeouts.
After knocking his first professional hit on Saturday, Michael Centeno started the CornBelter comeback with a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth. Justin Fletcher followed with his second walk of the game, and Santiago Chirino singled in his third starlight at-bat. He now only needs 41 more hits to take the crown from Chris Sidick for the all-time hit leader in the Frontier League. Centeno came around to score after Chris Iriart walked.
Andrew Godbold reached on fielder’s choice, which scored Fletcher. Tanner Lubach rounded out the three-run fifth with an RBI single. The CornBelter backstop already has six RBIs in 12 at-bats.
Making his 2018 debut, Jacinto Garica would be the first Normal pitcher out of the pen. The 6’3 right-hander pitched his way out of trouble in the seventh, stranding runners on first and second.
The CornBelters increased their lead in the bottom of the seventh. Godbold drew one of nine walks by the Beach Bums to leadoff. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and was brought in off the bat of Loveless with a single for fifth RBI on the season.
Traverse City regained the lead in the eighth off Jose Savinon. The former Padre farmhand gave up three hits and a walk in his second debut. Kuehl McEachern replaced Savinon and went on to finish the eighth and retire the Beach Bums in order in the ninth.
Normal was unable to rally in the ninth and dropped the first series of the year.
The CornBelters now hits the road for a six-game road trip, starting with the Lake Erie Crushers (May 15-17) and ending against the Evansville Otters (May 18-20).