TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Max MacNabb tossed eight innings of two-run ball for his team-leading fifth victory of the season and the Gateway Grizzlies won the series opener, 5-2, over the Traverse City Beach Bums at Wuerfel Park.
Gateway (22-29) scored in four straight innings (the second through the fifth) and won its third straight game.
MacNabb (5-5) fanned three Beach Bums and scattered five singles.
Traverse City (22-26) answered the Grizzlies’ first tally — both teams scored in the second inning — but Gateway rattled off four more unanswered runs before the Bums pushed anything more across.
Kevin Simmons slammed the door for his sixth save. Simmons struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning and needed only 14 pitches to retire the side.
Paul Russo singled twice with a pair of walks. He was the only player on either team to reach base every time he came up, and Friday’s performance raised his batting average to .474 in seven games with Gateway. Blake Brown was 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a walk. Brennan Morgan added two hits, including a double. Cody Livesay had a double and a walk on his 25th birthday.
John Price Jr. went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored in his Grizzlies debut.
If the Grizzlies win either of the remaining two games of the weekend set, they will have back-to-back series wins for the first time this year. They took two of three from the Windy City ThunderBolts earlier this week at GCS Credit Union Ballpark.
Gateway and Traverse City will play game two of their three-game series Saturday at 6:05 p.m. CDT.