Early Deficit Swallows Wahoos In 8-2 Loss

September 15, 2023

The first inning breezed quickly for Blue Wahoos pitcher Patrick Monteverde, resembling so many of his previous starts this season.

But he will quickly want to forget the rest.

After suddenly struggling with his pitch command, a leadoff homer in the second inning was followed by three consecutive walks and a grand slam, leading to the Mississippi Braves’ 8-2 victory in the season’s final Mullet Thursday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

The game’s start time was delayed 46 minutes after another set of afternoon storms.

It wound up becoming the shortest of Monteverde’s 21 starts with the Blue Wahoos this season. He was lifted after the 42-pitch, five-run second inning. The Blue Wahoos were unable to bounce back at the plate. They had only two hits in the first five innings and none after scoring two runs in the sixth.

Wearing Pensacola’s alternate identity as the Pensacola Mullets, Monteverde didn’t look like himself in more ways than one on Thursday. He was coming off recording his 10th win last week against the Rocket City Trash Pandas. In doing so, he became only the fifth Blue Wahoos pitcher in team history to earn 10 wins in a single season.

He was the first with 10 wins since former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rookie Davis in 2016 during his time with the Blue Wahoos.

After the rain delay Thursday, Monteverde (10-5) started with an eight pitch, 1-2-3 first inning.

But that was followed by a knockout punch. M-Braves designated hitter Drake Baldwin led off the second with a booming homer to center field. Three walks later, right fielder Landon Stephens blasted his 21st homer well over the left field wall toward the water for a grand slam.

The Blue Wahoos got a pair of runs in the sixth on a two-run single by Victor Mesa Jr., one of just five Pensacola hits.

While the weather affected the crowd, the game had two special guests in attendance.

Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng watched the game from various locations in her first trip this season to Pensacola.

Equally noteworthy, Darrell Randel, father of Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel, watched his son manage for the first time. He traveled from Montclair, California with son, Jeff, and his wife, Kristin, along with their daughter Kaylee and older son Jacob.

Kevin Randel didn’t know his dad was visiting until they met Thursday morning at a Pensacola restaurant. The group will take in Friday’s game as well.

The series against the M-Braves now shifts to the weekend.

The Friday game will have the Blue Wahoos’ Evan Fitterer (7-6, 4.40 ERA) on the mound against the M-Braves’ Daniel Martinez (0-2, 5.56). It will be the 23rd start of the season for Fitterer, a righthander from Mission Vejo, California, who was the Miami Marlins’ fifth round draft pick in 2019.

by Bill Vilona, photo Nino Mendez / Pensacola Blue Wahoos


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