Blue Wahoos Bounce Back To Beat M-Braves

June 7, 2024

written by Bill Vilona

his was not a walk-off win, but it was one Thursday night deemed by Joe Mack’s teammates worthy of a celebratory, post-game ice water dousing.

After all, the Blue Wahoos catcher had a starring role with multiple exclamations.

Mack smacked the go-ahead run on a solo homer in the sixth inning, then threw out the Mississippi Braves’ speedy Geraldo Quintero in the game’s biggest defensive play in the eighth, as Pensacola held on for a 4-3 victory on Mullet Thursday at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Taking on their alternate identity on Thursdays as the Pensacola Mullets, the win was a bounce back moment from Wednesday’s rough 14-6 loss and provided a good vibe in the home clubhouse, following the two losses to start this series.

“This win was a good one. It was a big win, getting back in the win column,” said Mack, after toweling off from the teammates’ bucket splash during his on-field interview. “And not giving in from previous days, continuing to go every single day and try and do our best.

“When we have games like today, we have a lot of fun. I love playing these games and enjoy the game in general.”

Mack went 3-for-4 to continue a hot bat this week. He’s now 7-for-12 in this series with a pair of home runs. Equally important, he threw out two M-Braves baserunners.

The one in the eighth inning followed a leadoff walk by first baseman Bryson Horne. Quintero got a great jump on his steal attempt as pinch-runner, but Mack’s throw was a perfect laser on the inside part of the bag that beat Quintero’s slide by a split-second as shortstop Harrison Spohn applied the tag.

It made an easier situation for reliever Zach McCambley, who followed that second out by getting Cade Bunnell on a lineout to left field to end the inning.

In the ninth, Blue Wahoos reliever Anderson Pilar earned his first save by throwing a perfectly placed fastball on the inside corner to strike out the M-Braves’ catcher Drake Baldwin to end the game.

Pensacola hit three homers in this game to account for the runs. In the third inning, Jacob Marsee drew a two-out walk, then stole second and third base.

Designated hitter Paul McIntosh then blasted a changeup deep over the left center fence for a 2-1 lead.

Zach Zubia led off the fourth inning with a homer to make it 3-1. The M-Braves tied the game against Pensacola starter Evan Fitterer on a two-run triple in the fifth by Cody Milligan.

But Mack’s homer enabled Fitterer to pick up his fifth win on a night where he battled through six innings, striking out seven, but issuing four walks and allowing seven hits.

“It was a big win. I had a good part in it, but it wasn’t all me,” said Mack, who joined the team in late April from the Beloit (Wisc.) Sky Carp, the Miami Marlins High-A affiliate. “And my teammates really battled. A couple of good homers by Paul and Zubia.

“This team is awesome. We have bunch of great guys and we’re not quitters, so if we lose one game or two games it doesn’t matter. We will find a way to win the next one.”

GAME NOTABLES

— The Blue Wahoos are now 4-2 this season wearing the Pensacola Mullets uniforms.

— Jessica Voigt, a group sales trainee, continued her role as a frequent National Anthem singer by delivering another crowd-cheering rendition Thursday night.

WANT TO GO?

WHO: Mississippi Braves vs. Blue Wahoos

WHEN: Friday, 6:05 p.m.

WHERE: Blue Wahoos Stadium

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