From staff reports
TRAVERSE CITY — Jose Vargas hit his league-leading 15th home run of the season as Traverse City defeated Normal 6-2 to take the first two games of a series with the CornBelters.
The win was Traverse City's eighth in its last 10 games. Normal, which has the league's worst record at 15-27, has lost eight of its last 10.
Chase Burch led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer, his sixth of the year. Vargas slammed a solo shot in the two-run seventh for his eighth round-tripper in as many contests.
Normal pitchers surrendered only five hits, but starter Jacob Liedka walked five in 6.1 innings. Ryan Still drew two of those walks, and Vargas had two hits.
Brian Heere, Jeff Flagg, Marcus Nidiffer and Kyle Colligan drove in the Beach Bums' other runs.
Bennett Whitmore went 5.1 strong innings, allowing only two hits and three walks. He struck out two and gave up two runs (one earned) to improve to 3-2. Matt Miller tossed 3.2 inning of relief for the save, fanning five and giving up only two hits.
The win kept Traverse City foru games ahead of Southern Illinois in the East Division standings.
The Beach Bums host Normal in the series finale tonight, then hit the road for a three-game set with London before the All-Star break. Brooks Belter (5-0) seeks to remain undefeated today.