Wahoos Record 100th Sellout With Win Over Mobile’s Baybears

July 26, 2014

On a historic night when the Pensacola Blue Wahoos recorded their 100th sellout in only its third season, Michael Lorenzen became the team’s first pitcher to hit a home run.

It wasn’t just any home run, it was a two-out grand slam that broke a 1-1 tie and vaulted Pensacola to a 7-1 lead over the Mobile BayBears, who have the best record in the Southern League.

Pensacola never looked back and went on to win its fourth straight game – tying its longest streak of the season – with a 9-1 victory in front of 5,038 fans at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.

Lorenzen said he wished it was his pitching, not his hitting, that fans gave him a standing ovation for during a curtain call.

“It was one of the best feelings ever,” he said afterward. “It stunk that I had to do it as a batter instead of a pitcher. But everyone loves playing here and we want to make the fans happy.”

Lorenzen came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the third inning. The BayBears highly touted Archie Bradley, who is the Arizona Diamondbacks No. 1 pitching prospect, intentionally walked Brodie Greene to pitch against Lorenzen. Greene had doubled in Kyle Waldrop to tie the game at 1 in the second inning, which extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Pensacola Manager Delino DeShields knows what Lorenzen can do at the plate from jacking balls out of the ballpark during batting practice. Lorenzen, who played outfield for Cal State Fullerton last year before being drafted by Cincinnati, hit .335 with seven homers and 35 RBI in college. For the Wahoos this season, Lorenzen leads all pitchers with a .227 average and five of his hits now include three doubles and a grand slam.

“I was not expecting a home run but I knew if he got a strike he would do something with it,” DeShields said. “Mike’s a good hitter.”

Lorenzen’s last grand slam came for Cal State Fullerton in 2013 when he knocked one out in the first inning after coming straight from his brother’s wedding.

The Wahoos bullpen also put up another good outing, allowing no hits in five innings. James Walczak who relieved Lorenzen in the fourth inning, pitched three innings, allowed one hit and struck out six, including five in a row. Walczak entered the game having given up four runs in 1.1 innings in his last outing.

Both Lorenzen and Walczak emphasized how much they enjoy playing in front of sellout crowds at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium that’s on the scenic waterfront in downtown Pensacola.

“I love this Pensacola atmosphere,” Lorenzen said. “It’s been fun all year, even though, it has not been a good season for us. We enjoy making everyone go wild.”

Walczak said he feeds off the energy of the Pensacola fans.

“It’s energizing for us,” he said. “We know the fans are there for us whether we win or lose. I love how Pensacola takes care of us.”

DeShields said on Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer’s 63rd birthday, he was happy to get the 100th sellout and the win. It was the 29th sellout in 55 home games this year and puts the Wahoos on pace to surpass 300,000 fans total for the third year in three seasons.

“A big shoutout needs to go to the staff and Quint Studer for all they do,” DeShields said. “It’s a credit to them. This is an excellent venue for the fans.”

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos start a five-game series with Atlanta Braves Double-A affiliate Mississippi Braves at 6 p.m. Saturday. RHP Ben Lively (0-4, 3.52) takes the mound for the Wahoos and is scheduled to be opposed by the Braves RHP Jason Hursh (8-6, 3.70).

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