Wahoos In Battle For South Division Crown

August 31, 2015

Pensacola is battling to become the first Cincinnati Reds Double-A affiliate to make the playoffs since 2006.

But Jackson, which has sunk to last place in the Southern League’s North Division in both the first and second half, isn’t making it easy. The Generals won its second straight game over the Blue Wahoos, 8-2, Sunday at The Ballpark in Jackson.

Pensacola, which took the opener in the five-game series, is now 6-7 overall against Jackson this season.

Blue Wahoos starter Tim Adleman, who led the Southern League with a 2.12 ERA entering the game, had a rare bad outing. He gave up six earned runs in 4.1 innings, falling to 9-9 this season with a 2.43 ERA.

The Pensacola right-hander was done in almost singlehandedly by Jackson second baseman Tyler Bortnick, who hit a solo shot in the first inning. He then smacked a grand slam off Adleman in the Generals’ five-run fifth inning that put Jackson up, 6-0. Bortnick last went yard on Aug. 22, 2013.

The Generals added two more runs in the eighth inning to go ahead, 8-0, before Pensacola finally scored.

The Blue Wahoos scored one run in the eighth inning with two out when second baseman Zach Vincej doubled and shortstop Alex Blandino singled him in. Pensacola right fielder Duran then crushed a solo homer to left center field in the ninth, his sixth dinger this season and second in four days. Duran currently has 42 RBIs on the season.

After failing to post a winning half since the team started in 2012, Pensacola is battling Mississippi for a postseason spot. The Blue Wahoos dropped to 35-28 in the second half of the Southern League South Division race.

Meanwhile, Mississippi, which is 34-27, was playing Biloxi Sunday night. If the Braves win, they would go up a half game. If not, they would remain a half game behind the Blue Wahoos.

The Blue Wahoos are looking to become the first Reds Double-A affiliate to advance to the playoffs since Chattanooga in 2006 — the longest drought of any Southern League affiliate. Chattanooga lost to Huntsville in the first round.

Pensacola right fielder Jesse Winker’s six-game hitting streak was snapped with a 0-4 day. Winker, the Reds top prospect, has hit in 20 of his 26 games this month and is batting .352 (32-91) in August.

Marquez Smith was 2-4 — the only Blue Wahoo to have a multi-hit game Sunday — and raised his season average to .270 with Pensacola.

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