Wahoos Top Birmingham, 6-0 To Close Series

May 13, 2017

Pensacola Blue Wahoos right fielder Aristides Aquino smacked only three hits against the Birmingham Barons. Two left the ballpark and the other bounced into the right field corner for a triple.

The 22-year-old playing in his first year in Double-A crushed a three-run homer to left field in the fourth inning Friday to lead Pensacola to a, 6-0, victory over the Birmingham Barons in front of 4,567 at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Pensacola snapped a three-series losing streak, defeating Birmingham, 4-1.

Despite struggling in the Southern League at the plate, hitting just .164, the No. 6 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds farm system leads the Blue Wahoos with four home runs and is tied for first in RBIs with 14. Aquino hit a two-run blast on Thursday for homers in back-to-back games.

He also tripled into the right field corner in the eighth inning to drive in first baseman Eric Jagielo that put Pensacola ahead, 5-0.

“I’ve been working hard,” Aquino said. “I didn’t lose my confidence.”

The stats don’t matter to Aquino, he said.

“I don’t think about it,” the Dominican Republic prospect said. “I do what I can to help the team win.”

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said new hitters often struggle when facing Southern League pitching, which he considers among the best in the minors. He enjoyed seeing the right-handed hitting Aquino triple to the opposite field in right field.

“Hitting the other way is a great sign,” Kelly said.

Aquino’s homer capped a four-run inning. The other run in the fourth scored when Jagielo ripped a line drive to right field that drove in third baseman Josh VanMeter with the first run of the game.

Jagielo, who went 1-3 with a walk, scored twice and drove in one run Friday, was 6-15 (.400) in the series against Birmingham and raised his average 38 points from .186 to .224.

The other hot bat against the Barons’ was left fielder Tyler Goeddel, who was 9-21 (.429) with a homer and three RBIs.

Meanwhile, Deck McGuire, the No. 11 pick in the first round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010, threw six scoreless innings. The 6-foot-6 righty allowed three hits, walked three and struck out seven to pick up his first win since April 20 against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

McGuire, who has bounced around between five teams in six minor league seasons, improved to 2-2 with a 3.40 ERA.

Kelly pointed out that all three of McGuire’s walks in the game came with two outs.

“He pitched well but he was a little tentative with two outs,” Kelly said. “He had a tough game in Chattanooga. It’s nice to get a win in the next start.”

The Pensacola bullpen also blanked Birmingham. Reliever Ariel Hernandez threw two scoreless innings, giving up three hits, and Brennan Bernardino finished off the ninth inning, allowing just one hit, one walk and striking out two.

It was the Pensacola pitching staff’s fifth shutout of the season and dropped its Southern League-leading ERA to 2.62.

Pensacola improved to 19-16 and remain tied with the Biloxi Shuckers for first place in the South Division.

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