M-Braves Earn Three Game Sweep Of The Blue Wahoos

July 22, 2019

The Blue Wahoos gave themselves an early reason to believe Sunday’s game might evolve differently than others in the past week.

They staked a 3-0 lead in the third inning. It was already the most runs generated in six games. Starting pitcher Jorge Alcala was coming off two solid starts.

But it changed quickly after the Mississippi Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the third, chased Alcala, then kept on hitting into an 8-3 win and three-game sweep of the weather-shortened series in Pearl, Miss. The teams did not play Saturday night due to heavy rain in the area.

What started positive became the Blue Wahoos’ season-high, sixth consecutive loss.  It was the team’s 13th defeat in the past 15 games. It has dropped the Blue Wahoos (49-50 overall, 11-18 second half) under .500 overall for the first time this season, after they won the first three games to start the 2019 season in April.

The M-Braves (46-52, 13-16), got a career-high eight innings pitched from starter Joey Wentz, plus bashed a season-high 18 hits against five Blue Wahoos pitchers. The M-Braves won their fourth consecutive game.

The Blue Wahoos will now try to shake this slide at home Monday when beginning a five-game series against the Mobile BayBears.

It will be the BayBears final appearance in Pensacola as a franchise. The team will relocate in 2020 to Madison, Ala., just outside of Huntsville, changing into the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

The M-Braves launched their offense Sunday without a home run and only two extra-base hits among the 18 they produced. Six of the batters in the lineup had multiple hits, led by catcher William Contreras, who went 4-for-5 with three RBI in the first 4-hit day of his Double-A career.

Earlier in Sunday’s game, however, it was the Blue Wahoos with a busy day at the plate. In the first inning, Alex Kirilloff single, then went to second after Trevor Larnach was hit by a pitch from Wentz.

Lewin Diaz followed with an RBI single. Caleb Hamilton hit a sacrifice fly to score Larnach. After a wild pitch sent Diaz to second, Mark Contreras lined out to first base to end the inning.

In the top of the third, Larnach blasted his first Double-A home run on a deep shot over the center field wall, giving the Blue Wahoos a 3-0 lead.

The good vibe changed when four of the first five M-Braves batters reached base in the bottom of the third. Alejandro Salazar started the rally with a lead off triple, then scored on Ray-Patrick Didder’s single.

Drew Waters following a one-out single to score Didder. After Ryan Casteel walked and Contreras made his only out in the game on a fly out, Alcala (5-7, 6.36 ERA) was lifted for Anthony Vizcaya.

He was promptly greeted by two consecutive RBI singles and a walk to drive in two runs. Salazar came back around to bat and laced a hard liner that Larnach caught in right field to end the inning.

The score stayed 4-3 in the M-Braves favor until they scored a run in the sixth. Contreras’ RBI single provided a 5-3 lead. In the seventh, the M-Braves forced the Blue Wahoos to use two relievers in the inning, as they scored three more runs.

The Blue Wahoos were held to five hits, one walk by Wentz (5-7, 4.26 ERA), who struck out five.

Kirriloff went 2-for-4 to boost his average to .281 and was the only Blue Wahoos batter with multiple hits.

The Blue Wahoos will begin the homestand with Mobile on Monday.

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