Wahoos Finish First Half At 40-30

June 19, 2017

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos finished the first half with three straight losses to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. But more importantly the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds also finished with its fourth consecutive half season title in the Southern League.

The crown matches the Tennessee Smokies, who also won four consecutive halves from 2009 to 2011.

Pensacola fell, 3-2, in the first seven-inning game and, 1-0, in the second game Sunday on a walk-off single with the bases loaded and one out when Jacksonville left fielder Alex Glenn slapped a single to right field to score catcher Austin Nola at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Up until the seventh inning, Pensacola starter Luis Castillo was riding a three-game winning streak. Castillo has pitched 6.1 scoreless innings and given up just two hits before Glenn’s game-winning hit. He dropped to 4-4 with a 2.58 ERA on the season.

Although Pensacola hammered out eight hits, the lineup was 1-8 with runners in scoring position Sunday.

Jacksonville starter Chris Mazza and reliever Andy Beltre combined to shutout Pensacola on eight hits, one walk and five strikeouts over seven innings. It was the Blue Wahoos seventh shutout loss this season with two, 1-0, losses coming in this series with the Jumbo Shrimp.

In the first game, Blue Wahoos second baseman Alex Blandino put Pensacola on the board first, 1-0,  when he crushed his sixth homer of the year over the left field fence.

But Jacksonville pushed two runs across in the third inning to take a 2-1 lead, when center fielder Yefri Perez, who leadoff the inning with a double, scored on a bunt by pitcher Omar Bencomo on a throwing error by Pensacola catcher Adrian Nieto. The second run came when Bencomo stored on a sacrifice fly by right fielder John Norwood.

Jacksonville catcher Cam Maron, who played with Pensacola, his a solo shot in the fourth to put the Jumbo Shrimp ahead, 3-1. Pensacola pulled within one run in the top of the seventh, 3-2, when Nieto singled to center to drive in first baseman Eric Jagielo, who leadoff the inning with a walk.

Pensacola starter Deck McGuire lasted four innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk and striking out two. He picked up the loss and is 6-5 with a 3.50 ERA this year.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville used four pitchers over the seven-inning game, scattering five hits and two walks that led to Pensacola’s two runs, and striking out seven.

Blandino finished the year as one of the hottest hitters in the Pensacola lineup. He earned a hit in 13 of the the last 15 games and three homers, including two against Jacksonville. He batted .367 going 18-49 with 18 RBIs, including two 4-RBI games.

The Cincinnati first round pick in 2014 has 22 doubles in the first half this year, which is just three off his best season when he had 25 in 2015 between High-A Daytona Tortugas and Double-A Pensacola.

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