Mobile Beats Pensacola

August 11, 2017

Pensacola Blue Wahoos third baseman Nick Senzel continued his dog-and-pony show for the Cincinnati Reds.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft drilled two homers in a game for the first time in his professional career and recorded his fifth four-RBI game in Thursday’s 10-9 series opening loss to the Mobile BayBears in front of 4,102 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said the bad thing about Senzel is he comes up every nine batters.

“I wish I could hit him every inning,” Kelly said. “They only let him bat once every nine times. I wish he could get to the plate more.”

For his part, Senzel said he approaches the plate wanting to make good contact, not hit dingers.

“I’m not worried about hitting it over the fence,” Senzel said. “I’m just being aggressive and trying to hit the ball hard.”

Senzel, the Reds top prospect and the 11th ranked prospect in the minor leagues, crushed the ball to right center into the Hill-Kelly Dodge hill in the first inning with shortstop Blake Trahan on base to put the Blue Wahoos ahead, 2-0.

In the second inning, Senzel earned his third RBI of the game when he lined a single to center that drove in Trahan and put Pensacola ahead, 5-3.

Senzel lead off the fifth inning with a solo shot just right of the 400-foot mark in dead center and the Blue Wahoos trailed, 8-6. He went 3-4 with a walk and stolen base Thursday and now is 14-40 or .350 in his last 11 games with two homers and 10 RBIs.

The last time the University of Tennessee product produced four RBIs happened in a June 10 game for the High-A Daytona Tortugas against the Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League.

The 22-year-old, who is batting .341 in Double-A, upped his home run total to seven with Pensacola and 11 on the year including his first half with Daytona.

Both Kelly and Senzel admired his home run to center field.

“He hit a fastball neck-high over the center field fence,” Kelly said. “That’s pretty impressive.”

Senzel added: “I took a good swing at it. It finally got out. I was happy to see it go.”

However, Pensacola blew the 4-0 lead it built in the bottom of the first inning.

Mobile came right back in its next at bat in the top of the second inning when BayBears catcher Jose Briceno clubbed a three-run blast to left center with second baseman Jose Rojas and left fielder Zach Gibbons on base. Briceno seventh homer pulled Mobile within, 4-3. The catcher, who had a 6-RBI game, had his second four-RBI game this season. Briceno went 2-3 with a homer, double and walk.

Mobile overtook its rival Pensacola with a four-run inning of its own in the third inning to go ahead, 7-5. The teams are 8-8 in head-to-head games this year.

BayBears center fielder Brennon Lund scored on a wild pitch with the bases loaded and second baseman Jose Rojas at the plate to trail Pensacola, 5-4. Rojas then tied the game, 5-5, with a sacrifice fly to right center that scored first baseman Matt Thaiss. BayBears left fielder Zach Gibbons smashed a grounder down the third base line into left field to drive in third baseman Zach Houchins, who had singled, for the go-ahead run, 6-5.

Pensacola reliever Domingo Tapia replaced starter Keury Mella and Briceno ripped a double to left field to drive in Gibbons for his fourth RBI and a 7-5 Mobile lead.

Back-to-back doubles by Mobile’s Rojas and Gibbons in the fifth inning put the BayBears ahead, 8-5.

Mella got knocked out of the game by Mobile after 2.2 innings after the BayBears scored seven runs on six hits a walk and one strikeout. It was his shortest outing since he lasted 1.2 innings in his second start of the year April 14 when he gave up five runs on six hits to the Biloxi Shuckers.

The 23-year-old Mella earned the loss and is 2-10 this season and remains winless at Blue Wahoos Stadium and in his last 10 starts.

Trailing 10-6 entering the ninth inning, Pensacola’s Trahan, left fielder Gabriel Guerrero and Senzel all scored but the game ended, 10-9.

The Blue Wahoos are now 3-8 in its last 11 games and have fallen to fourth place in the South Division with a 21-25 record. The first half champs are 61-55 overall.

Pensacola trails Mobile, which is 24-22 in the second half, by three games. The BayBears are 54-61 overall.

“We have to get better earlier in the game,” Senzel said. “We haven’t played well the last two and a half weeks. It’s been a rough stretch.”


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