Wahoos Fall To Jumbo Shrimp, Head To Playoffs

September 1, 2017

For the first time in three seasons, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are not the Southern Division champions.

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp ended Pensacola’s reign by overcoming the Blue Wahoos, 5-2, with three runs in the eighth inning at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Pensacola, which had its three game winning streak snapped, won the Southern League crown in the first half. The Blue Wahoos won a Southern League-record four straight halves. The only other team to do that was the Tennessee Smokies between the 2009 and 2011 seasons.

Pensacola and Jacksonville, not only finish the regular season schedule against each other, but will face each other in the Southern Division League playoffs that begin Sept. 6 and 7 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

The Blue Wahoos fell to 31-35 in the second half, while the second half champion Jumbo Shrimp improved to 38-28.

Blue Wahoos left fielder Gabriel Guerrero hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field in the fifth inning that scored shortstop Blake Trahan to tie the game, 2-2, with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

But the Jumbo Shrimp went ahead, 3-2, when left fielder Austin Dean hit a ground ball single up the middle to score first baseman Taylor Ard, who Pensacola reliever Alex Powers hit with a pitch to lead off the eighth inning.

Jacksonville right fielder John Norwood then his fourth triple of the season to right field that drove in both center fielder Braxton Lee and Dean for a 5-2 lead.

In his last regular season start, Pensacola starting pitcher Deck McGuire was going for his career-high 10th win of the season for the seventh time. But after working six innings, McGuire left the game tied 2-2. The 6-foot-6 righty allowed two runs on three hits, no walks and struck out 11, which tied his career high with Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2015.

It was an excellent regular season for the minor league veteran, who was selected to the Southern League All-Star game.

The former first round pick in 2010 by the Toronto Blue Jays finished the regular season 9-9 with a 2.79 ERA. He led the Southern League with 168 innings pitched and 170 strikeouts, which are also both franchise records. He had a WHIP of 1.10 and held opponents to a .208 batting average.

Jacksonville reliever Miguel Del Pozo ended up earning his first Double-A victory (1-0) in his fourth appearance for Jacksonville, throwing 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out two.

The Jumbo Shrimp had c0me back and tied Pensacola, 1-1, in the bottom of the first inning when third baseman David Vidal smacked a single that scored Lee. The Jumbo Shrimp then went ahead, 2-1, when John Norwood crushed a solo homer, his 19th of the year, in the fourth inning.

The Blue Wahoos scored first in the first inning when first baseman Gavin LaValley singled in second baseman Shed Long to put Pensacola ahead, 1-0.

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