Miners Escape With 4-3 Win Over Beach Bums

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The Southern Illinois Miners rebounded from a shaky start to score four straight runs and hung on against a late Traverse City rally to beat the Beach Bums 4-3 on Wednesday night at Wuerfel Park. Beach Bums shortstop Josh Miller forces out a Southern Illinois baserunner during Wednesday's game. David April photograph

Traverse City scored two runs in the last of the first inning in perhaps the weirdest of fashions. Southern Illinois catcher Phil Butler was called for catcher’s interference, not once, but twice in the first three batters of the game around a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Jose Vargas drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right and Jovan Rosa followed with an RBI single to push the Beach Bums ahead 2-0.

However, Traverse City’s offense was shut down for the next six innings by rookie righthander Anthony Montefusco. Making just his third start in a Miners uniform, Montefusco (1-0) allowed only two hits after the first inning, going seven innings while allowing the two unearned runs with five strikeouts.

Southern Illinois worked its way even in the third inning against TC starter Alex Phillips. A one-out walk and a double put two in scoring position and back-to-back RBI singles from Frank Martinez and Chris Burke knotted the score at two. An inning later, Matt Howard led off with a double and came around to score on a groundout from Jay Austin to force the Miners ahead 3-2.

Phillips (4-8) tossed his sixth quality start of the year, giving up three runs on six hits in six innings, but was dealt the loss.

The Miners added on what turned out to be an important run in the eighth inning on a two-out RBI single from Butler to make it 4-2.

Traverse City made things interesting in the ninth inning against Stew Brase, started by a Rosa solo shot with one away. It was Rosa’s ninth homer of the year and finished a 2-for-3 night with two RBI for him. Brase walked the next two batters before Jake Rhodes hit a line drive to first that Burke made a diving catch on and then stepped on first to complete the game with a dramatic double play.

The Beach Bums and Miners will meet one final time on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Ian MacDougall (6-3, 3.00) takes the ball for Traverse City while Southern Illinois will go with Rick Teasley (9-5, 3.17). In addition to Thirsty Thursday specials, one lucky fan will win Homestead Resorty staycation. Fans can listen to the broadcast starting at 6:45 p.m. on Classic Rock the Bear 98.1/107.1 and classicrockthebear.com.