BayBears Beat The Wahoos

May 18, 2019

The Blue Wahoos threw out two runners at the plate, another trying to stretch a double into a triple, then had their pitchers combine for 11 strikeouts with only one walk issued.

Usually, it’s a summation for a win.

But just the opposite unfolded Friday night in an 8-2 loss against the Mobile BayBears that became the worst home defeat of the early season at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

A sellout crowd of 5,038 had only a few moments for cheer.

“Really rough,” said Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego, whose team managed only four hits. “Nothing together. A lot of misplays and offensively we really lacked a lot of quality at-bats.”

The BayBears (17-24), who entered the weekend series with the second-fewest wins in the Southern League, won for a second consecutive night by unleashing seven doubles among their 12 hits.

The loss trimmed the Blue Wahoos (26-16) first-place lead in the South Division to four games after Biloxi’s win Friday night. The Blue Wahoos had won seven of 10 previous games against Mobile before these two losses.

“We just came out flat. Just really flat,” Borrego said. “But baseball is just like that. You can lose one, two, three in a row, then you can come back. That is the good thing about baseball.”

In fact, the Blue Wahoos lost their first two games against Biloxi in the previous homestand, then won the final three games of the series by scoring a combined 30 runs.

“We just need to start playing better. I mean we have been playing well all season, but we just need to leave this behind and play better baseball.”

Blue Wahoos starter Sean Poppen absorbed the loss, working into the sixth inning and allowing six hits while striking out six and not walking a batter.

Poppen had two clean innings to start the game. But with one out in the third inning, the BayBears’ Zane Gortwitz reached on an infield error. The next two batters, Branden Marsh and Brandon Sandovel doubled to score a pair of runs.

Joahn Urena hit a grounder that was misplayed into a hit, scoring the third run. During this sequence, however, the Blue Wahoos prevented worse damage by throwing out two runners trying to score on strong relays to the plate.

Poppen then retired the next eight batters in order.

“Poppen gave us a quality outing,” Borrego said. “If we are able to make at least one of those plays, we get out of the inning or maybe give up one run. He battled to get to six innings. He pitched really well.”

The Blue Wahoos had their only chance for a big inning when loading the bases with none out in the fifth. Travis Blankenhorn drove in a run, but while hitting into a double play. Alex Kirilloff walked, one of three times he reached base, and Caleb Hamilton singled to reload the bases.

Taylor Grzelakowski walked to force in a run before Jaylin Davis’ grounded out to end the inning.

“We have a big inning possibly going there with the bases loaded, but we couldn’t put anything together,” Borrego said. “Obviously tomorrow is another day. We just need to regroup and come back and get the series.”

The Blue Wahoos have won all eight series this season.

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