After a record-setting month of April highlighted by brilliant starting pitching, the Blue Wahoos stumbled out of the gate in May, allowing seven early runs in a 7-3 loss to the Biloxi Shuckers on Wednesday evening.
RHP Sean Poppen took the mound for the Wahoos sporting an unbeaten record an a minuscule 0.75 ERA. After a quick first inning, he ran into trouble in the second. In the game’s second frame, Poppen struggled to find the strike zone, walking four batters in the inning and allowing three runs on two hits.
After the tough second, Poppen was replaced on the mound by LHP Tyler Jay to open the third inning. After retiring the first two batters, the inning unraveled for Jay. Five consecutive batters reached on two walks, a single, a double, and a triple, and four runs scored to put the Shuckers up 7-0.
Pensacola took a run back in both the third and the fourth innings. In the third, Tanner English was hit by a pitch and moved to third on a single by Luis Arraez. Mitchell Kranson plated him with an RBI ground out. In the fourth, Joe Cronin slipped a triple under the glove of a diving Trent Grisham and scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Grzelakowski.
Those were the only two runs the Wahoos would get off Biloxi starter Johan Belisario, who earned his first win of the year by going 5.0 innings and allowing just three hits. The Wahoos added a run against reliever Marcos Diplan in the sixth, loading the bases on singles by Jaylin Davis and Travis Blankenhorn and a walk to Joe Cronin before a sacrifice fly by Grzelakowski.
The Blue Wahoos received quality relief from Sam Clay and Adam Bray, who combined to throw 5.0 hitless innings and strike out six batters.
Pensacola finished the game, their first series-opening loss of the season, with six hits. Blankenhorn was 2-4 in his first game at Blue Wahoos Stadium after a recent call-up from A+ Fort Myers. Grzelakowki was 1-2 with a double and a pair of runs batted in.
The loss drops Pensacola’s record to 17-9, still best in the Southern League, while Biloxi improves to 13-13. The two teams will continue their five-game set tomorrow evening at Blue Wahoos Stadium with RHP Jorge Alcala (4-1, 5.70 ERA) on the hill for the Wahoos and first pitch scheduled for 6:35 PM.
***This report was provided by Daniel Venn, Media and Public Relations Manager for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.