Wahoos Rally, Win Eighth Straight Series

May 16, 2019

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos resiliency shined again Wednesday, thus continuing their series unbeaten streak in a significant way.

Trailing 3-0 early in a matinee, road finale against the Chattanooga Lookouts, turned the game with a big inning, then got a clutch closer performance from Sam Clay to hold on for a wild, 7-6 victory in the series deciding game at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn.

In winning a pair of back-to-back road series’ against Mississippi and Chattanooga, the Blue Wahoos (26-14) headed home following the early game with a 6.5-game lead in first place of the Southern League’s South Division. There are 30 games left in the first half, divisional playoff chase.

What’s more, the Blue Wahoos won the final two games of the series after their top hitter, second baseman Luis Arraerz, whose .342 average was third best in all Double-A, was elevated Tuesday to Triple-A Rochester.

New faces, new game stars keep emerging with the Blue Wahoos.

Wednesday, Caleb Hamilton bashed a 2-run homer to highlight a 5-run rally in the fourth inning, which changed the game. The Lookouts (21-17) had taken a 3-0 lead off Rodney Dobnak, who grinded into the sixth to earn his second win in three Double-A starts for the former Independent League pitcher.

Hamilton, who played third base Wednesday, but also has shared a catcher’s role, went 2-for-4 in the game. Alex Kirilloff went 1-for-5, but his one hit was the eventual game-winner, a two-run single in the eighth inning to provide a 7-4 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Lookouts got a pair of runs off Blue Wahoos top closer Ryan Mason. The Lookouts had the tying run on second, following Chris Okey’s, two-out, RBI double to cut the lead to 7-6.

Mason got Alfredro Rodriguez to fly out to Kirilloff in right field to end the threat.

In the ninth inning, Clay earned his third save by retiring the first two hitters, former Blue Wahoos’ T.J. Friedl and Jose Siri, then giving up a single before getting Brantley Bell to ground out and end the game.

The series matched two Southern League teams that switched affiliations after last season. It also included former Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly, who took Pensacola to three consecutive post-season appearances as a Cincinnati Reds affiliate and the 2017 SL co-championship shared with the Lookouts, then the Minnesota Twins affiliate.

Earlier in the game, the Lookouts were in solid position to get the series win. They got a two-run homer in the second from Mitch Nay, then another run in the third off a fielding error.

But the Blue Wahoos erupted in the fourth. Taylor Grzelakowski coaxed a one-out walk. Hamilton followed with his homer over the center field wall. Catcher Ben Rortvedt, the Blue Wahoos newest player, elevated from Advanced-A Fort Myers, singled and then scored on Mark Contreras’ two-out double.

Joe Cronin followed with an RBI double. Travis Blankenhorn then singled home Cronin to make it a 5-3 lead. It was 5-4 in the eighth when Kirilloff’s two-run single became decisive.

The Blue Wahoos then took a near 400-mile bus ride back to Pensacola and will begin a five-game homestand Thursday against the Mobile BayBears.

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