TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Stephen Sauer threw his third complete game of the year, but took the loss as the ThunderBolts fell to the Traverse City Beach Bums 3-2 at Wuerfel Park Thursday night.
The Beach Bums hopped on the scoreboard with a two-hit, two-run second inning. Kyle Eveland’s suicide squeeze bunt scored Kyle Colligan and Brian Heere’s RBI single made it 2-0.
The ThunderBolts didn’t have a hit until the fourth and had only three baserunners through six innings, but Chad Cregar broke the shutout in the seventh with a solo home run, his 23rd of the year.
Traverse City immediately answered in the bottom of the inning, Marcus Nidiffer hit his second double of the game and later scored on a wild pitch, making the score 3-1.
Again the ThunderBolts would respond with the long ball. Brandon Decker’s 15th home run of the season brought the Bolts back to within one run in the top of the eighth inning. They could not generate any more power against reliever Matt Miller, though, as the Traverse City reliever pitched two innings for the save.
Kurt Wunderlich (1-0) threw seven strong innings in his Beach Bums debut, striking out five and allowing only three hits to secure the win. Sauer (6-6) allowed eight hits and only one earned run, but took his second straight hard-luck loss. It was Miller’s fifth save.
The ThunderBolts will return home for a three-game series with the Rockford RiverHawks on Friday. Game one will be Budweiser Fill ‘R Up Friday at Standard Bank Stadium. Domestic draft beers are just $1.25. It is also Illinois Operation Lifesaver Jersey-Off-Their-Back Night. The Bolts will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. Windy City will have Mike Recchia (9-2, 2.50) starting against Rockford’s Cody Hallahan (5-5, 4.26). The game starts at 7:05 and can be heard on WXAV, 88.3 fm and wxav.com.