Late Rally Falls Short As Pensacola’s Win Streak Snaps At 10

May 19, 2023

The Blue Wahoos had their franchise-record streak end Thursday, but not without suspense.

After trailing 5-0 into the fifth inning, Pensacola produced a 3-run rally in the seventh and had a chance for a walk-off rally in their final at-bat before the Tennessee Smokies held on for a 5-4 victory, halting a 10-game win streak that stretched into a third week.

Playing as the Pensacola Mullets and wearing their specialty uniforms on Mullet Thursday, the home team fell into an early hole, but rallied against the Smokies bullpen.

The game’s biggest moment was a near-miss shot by Victor Mesa Jr. With two outs and the tying run on third, Mesa Jr. launched a ball into the right-center gap that appeared to have a chance for a home run.

But Smokies right fielder Owen Caissie made a sensational catch against the wall to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, another chance ensued when Bennett Hostetler led off with a walk. J.D. Orr was unable to bunt him over and popped out. Smokies reliever Riley Martin then struck out Nasim Nuñez and Troy Johnston to end the game.

But the Blue Wahoos (24-12) had a memorable stretch of games where they swept a road series for only the second time in franchise history and eclipsed a win streak of eight games set three times in team history.

Blue Wahoos newcomer Jonathan Bermudez, making his first start this year since being signed by the Miami Marlins on April 26, struggled in his Pensacola debut.

Bermudez struck out the first two batters he faced, then allowed a walk before getting out of the first inning.

The second inning, however, wasn’t so clean. He walked two of the Smokies’ (19-17) first three batters. With two out Caleb Knight laced a pitch to right field. The Blue Wahoos’ Griffin Conine made a sliding attempt to keep the ball in front, but it bounced away allowing two runs to score.

The Smokies had their first two batters on second and third base in the fourth inning when Bermudez was lifted for reliever Josan Méndez. He gave up an RBI double to the next batter, but got out of the inning without worse damage.

The Smokies then took a 5-0 lead with two runs in the top of the fifth against Méndez.

Griffin Conine got the Blue Wahoos on the board with a solo home run, his fourth of the season, to begin the bottom of the fifth.

The Blue Wahoos began their seventh inning rally when Hostetler walked and Orr singled. Nuñez drove in a run and Johnston had a sacrifice fly RBI. Dane Myers then hit a shot back at the mound, off the pitcher’s leg and the errant throw allowed another run to score.

The fourth game of this series begins the weekend set on Friday.

The Blue Wahoos’ Luis Palacios (1-0, 9.00 ERA) will make his second start since joining the team a week ago from the Beloit Sky Carp, as part of the movement when Eury Pérez went to the Marlins. Palacios pitched twice last year for the Blue Wahoos.

The Smokies will start their top pitcher, lefthander Jordan Wicks (2-0, 2.67), rated the Chicago Cubs’ No. 5 overall prospect.

First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

by Bill Vilona, photo Nino Mendez / Pensacola Blue Wahoos


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