6/27/2012 - TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Traverse City Beach Bums saw Jacob Clem toss eight shutout innings before the Washington Wild Things nearly pulled off a miracle comeback, but the Beach Bums would prevail with a 5-4 victory. Clem delivers a pitch to the plate in a Pete Walters photo.
With Traverse City leading 5-0 heading into the ninth, Washington started the inning off calmly enough with a pair of singles by Andrew Heck and Rick Devereaux. The proceedings started to get interesting when Clem hit Will Arnold with a pitch to load the bases. Taylor Oldham came up as a pinch-hitter for the Wild Things, scoring Heck to cut the lead to 5-1. That ended the night of Clem as Matt Miller came on in relief. Jonathan Erb stood in for Washington and cleared the bases on one swing as he tripled to center to score Devereaux, Arnold and Oldham, trimming the Beach Bums lead to a single run.
With the game very much in the balance, Traverse City called on Scott Mueller to finish off the game. Doug Thennis came in to pinch-run for Erb and Shain Stoner would stand in as a pinch-hitter. On a 2-2 count, Mueller got Stoner to strike out for the first out of the inning. Washington then tried to execute a suicide squeeze with Matt McConnell at the plate. The Beach Bums snuffed out the play, however, as Marcus Nidiffer stepped out from his crouch for a pitch out and tagged Thennis coming down the line for out number two. The play proved huge as McConnell singled on the next pitch, which would have scored the runner. Mueller was then able to get Tanner Leighton to groundout to end the game and preserve the victory.
Early on, it appeared that no late game drama would be present as Traverse City built up the 5-0 lead starting in the third on a Jeff Flagg RBI double scoring Jose Vargas and Chase Burch who had both singled. Two innings later, Kyle Colligan reached as a hit batsman, moved up to second on a wild pitch and came around to score on a throwing error to make it 3-0. The Beach Bums capped their scoring in the game in the sixth when, after Ryan Still tripled, Vargas cracked his eighth homer of the year to the right of the scoreboard, pushing the lead to 5-0.
Meanwhile, Clem (3-3) was on cruise control over the first eight innings of the game, allowing just four hits and recording 17 ground ball outs. By getting Traverse City out of the ninth inning jam, Mueller earned his 10th save of the year. Chris Smith (2-3) allowed five runs in five innings taking the loss for Washington.
Game two of the series against the Wild Things is on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. It is a two-for-ticket Thirsty Thursday with 2-for-1 pricing on all chairback seats and a dollar off fountain drinks and beer. Reid Kelly (4-1, 2.89) will start for the Beach Bums against Jhonny Montoya (1-1, 2.78) for Washington.
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