In a match-up of the two top pitching teams in the Southern League, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos came out on top in the opener of a five-game set in Mississippi against the Braves thanks to a five-run seventh inning. Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, the Wahoos strung together four hits, a walk, and two M-Braves errors to take a 6-2 lead on their way to an eventual 6-3 win.
After walking four in just 2.0 innings in his last start, Sean Poppen took the mound for Pensacola looking to shake off last week’s disappointing start. While the walks were still (5 tonight), Poppen went 5.0 innings and struck out seven while allowing just three hits and a pair of unearned runs.
Pensacola got on the board first in the third inning, using a two-out single by Luis Arraez and a triple by Alex Kirilloff to go up 1-0. The base hit extended Arraez’s current hitting streak to seven games, the second longest by a Wahoo this season (Jaylin Davis, 10).
In the fourth, the Braves ran together a fielder error by Pensacola, a walk, and a two-run single by Luis Valenzuela to take a 2-1 lead.
The score remained at 2-1 until the seventh. Facing Braves reliever Jeremy Walker, Davis led off the inning with a walk. Mitchell Kranson followed with a single. Tanner English then knocked a two-run double to take the lead back for Pensacola. Jordan Gore and Kirilloff followed with singles and a pair of fielding errors helped two more runs score, putting Pensacola up 6-2.
A single by Daniel Lockhart and triple by Tyler Neslony took a run back for Mississippi in the home half of the seventh, but Cody Stashak entered in relief of Jeff Ames and worked out of a first and third jam and then set down the Braves in order in the eighth and ninth to preserve the win.
Ames (1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K) earned his first win of the season. Stashak (2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 K) picked up his second save.
Kirilloff was 3-5 with a triple and two runs batted in. Arraez and Travis Blankenhorn each had two hits. For Arraez, it was his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, raising his season average to .336.
The win improves Pensacola’s league-best record to 21-10. Mississippi, in second place in the SL South, falls to 15-14 with the loss. The two teams will continue their five-game set in Mississippi tomorrow evening in a showdown of top 30 prospect pitchers between Pensacola’s Jorge Alcala (4-1, 4.71 ERA) and Mississippi’s Joey Wentz (1-1, 4.13 ERA).
***This report provided by Daniel Venn, Media and Public Relations Manager for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos