Buxton Debuts, Banfield Homers In 3-2 Wahoos Win

September 14, 2023

The Blue Wahoos’ latest new pitcher shined on Wednesday.

And another team feat was attained.

In his Double-A debut, Ike Buxton set an early tone by throwing four scoreless innings, while allowing just one hit, then Pensacola’s bullpen sealed a 3-2 victory against the Mississippi Braves at Blue Wahoos Stadium that added another season superlative.

It was this team’s 77th win, pushing them into the second-most wins in team history. In addition to that, Will Banfield’s solo home run in the fourth inning – the first run of the game – was the Blue Wahoos’ 162nd homer this season, which is now tied for the sixth-most in modern Southern League history since 1964.

On Wednesday, the team transformed into the Pensacola Pok-Ta-Pok as part of the Copa de la Diversión in Minor League Baseball.

The game began with Buxton in command. He joined the team earlier this week after pitching in 2023 for the Beloit Sky Carp, the Miami Marlins’ High-A affiliate in Beloit, Wisconsin. The 23-year-old right-hander from Sun Valley, Idaho was a 15th round draft selection in 2022 by the Marlins.

He was 6-2 with a 3.01 earned run average before Wednesday’s no-decision. Chandler Jozwiak, another pitcher who began this year in Beloit, followed and got his second win with two hitless innings.

Luarbert Arias and Dylan Bice preserved the win in late relief, with Bice getting his second save.

In the ninth inning, the M-Braves’ Cade Bunnell blasted a one-out Bice pitch out of the ballpark to make it a one-run game. With two outs, Drew Campbell singled and Cody Milligan walked on a 3-2 pitch Bice believed was a strike.

But Bice then responded by getting Luke Waddell to fly out to end the game.

Pensacola got its second run when Banfield came back up in the fifth inning and drove in Nasim Nuñez on a sacrifice fly. Nuñez had walked and advanced to third on Paul McIntosh’s single.

Norel González provided the game-winning RBI with his eighth-inning single to score Bennett Hostetler.

The third game of series with the M-Braves is Thursday, with the Blue Wahoos (77-55) taking on their alternate identity as the Pensacola Mullets and wearing their specialty uniforms on “Mullet Thursday.” There will also be drink specials for those of legal age at various locations on the stadium concourse.

The Blue Wahoos will enter with a 4-6 record in the Mullet uniforms.

The Blue Wahoos’ top pitcher, left-hander Patrick Monteverde (10-4, 2.97 earned run average), will make his final regular-season start Thursday against M-Braves righthander Daniel Martinez (0-2 5.56).

Pregame activities will begin at 6:15 p.m., including ceremonial first pitches and special guest introductions. The official first pitch of the game will be at 6:35 p.m.

by Bill Vilona, photo Nino Mendez / Pensacola Blue Wahoos


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