SAUGET, Ill. — Blake Brown’s walk-off single in the ninth inning helped the Gateway Grizzlies split a doubleheader with the Traverse City Beach Bums on Friday night at GCS Ballpark.
Gateway (26-44) fell in game one by a 6-1 final score, but bounced back to take game two, 3-2. LHP Jordan Spencer pitched five scoreless innings in his first professional start to lead the Grizzlies to victory.
Garrett Vail helped out Spencer early with an RBI single in the second inning. Blake Brown began the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Vail stepped in with two away and delivered a single up the middle to plate Brown and put Gateway up, 1-0.
Spencer kept the Beach Bums (41-27) off the scoreboard the following two innings before Vail came through yet again in the fourth. Ian McDougall retired the first two batters in the inning, but then Gateway rattled off three straight hits. Grant Buckner and Ben Waldrip singled back-to-back to bring up Vail. The Gateway catcher delivered in another RBI spot to plate Buckner and put the Grizzlies up, 2-0.
Pete Perez pitched a scoreless sixth inning and the Grizzlies were one out away from a win when Alex Tomasovich delivered a crushing blow. The Beach Bums’ second baseman homered over the right wall with two outs in the seventh inning to tie the game 2-2. The home run was off Tyler Thompson, who hadn’t given up a run out of the bullpen prior to the at-bat.
The Grizzlies couldn’t come through with a big hit in the following two innings, but finally did in the ninth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Blake Brown, who knocked a 1-2 pitch into the outfield to score Livesay and give Gateway the 3-2 walk-off win.
Newcomer Kyle Bouman (1-0) earned the victory in his Grizzlies debut after pitching a scoreless ninth inning out of the Gateway bullpen. Brown, Vail and Ben Waldrip led the way offensively with two hits each.
The Gateway offense couldn’t get going in game one, as they fell 6-1 to Traverse City in the opener of the twin bill. RHP Kramer Champlin (6-6) allowed one run on five hits in his six innings of work.
The one run for the Grizzlies came in the fifth inning with the team trailing 4-0. Tyler Tewell singled with one out and advanced to third base after Buckner doubled. Madison Beaird then came through with a big RBI single to cut the deficit to 4-1.
However, that’s all the offense would muster. The Beach Bums answered quickly in the sixth inning with a leadoff home run from Yazy Arbelo and added another in the seventh inning to put them on top 6-1.
RHP Trevor Richards (4-5) took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits in six innings of work. All five runs came via the home run ball.
Sam Bumpers homered to score two runs in the fourth inning and Jose Vargas followed suit with a two-run home run later in the inning. That put Traverse City up 4-0 after four innings and gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Grizzlies and Beach Bums continue their series Saturday night at GCS Ballpark. First pitch is set for 7:05. RHP Collin Shaw (0-1) will pitch for Gateway. Sam Levitt and Kevin Schaefer will call the action on the Grizzlies Radio Network, which airs on 101 ESPN’s digital platforms and 1400 AM KJFF.