Blue Wahoos Beat The Barons 4-1

May 13, 2021

The wind at Blue Wahoos Stadium suddenly began blowing harder to right field.

Jerar Encarnacion took full advantage.

Encarnacion went opposite field with a sixth-inning pitch that just had enough pop to clear a leaping right fielder for a 3-run homer, which carried the Blue Wahoos to a 4-1 victory Wednesday against the Birmingham Barons.

That blast, along with former No. 1 pick J.J. Bleday’s first professional homer, provided the run support needed to accompany another impressive pitching performance from fellow Vanderbilt star Jake Eder.

“Fortunately it was blowing out,” said Bleday, the fourth overall pick in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft by the Miami Marlins. “When we were hitting balls off the machine, the ball was flying and we weren’t sure that was going to carry over in the game, so that definitely helped in our favor tonight.”

Bleday’s blast in the fourth inning was a no-doubter out of the stadium in right field.

“I was doing my best to tackle oneand I put a good swing on it and it felt good,” said Bleday, who played his final two prep seasons at Panama City Mosley. “It felt good to do it at home and get my first knock here so I pretty happy with that.”

It was the Blue Wahoos first home win as the Miami Marlins affiliate. The crowds the first two nights have caught the attention of the players.

“It was cool, definitely, to have fans rooting for you,” said Eder, who struck out 12 in five scoreless innings a week ago to get his first professional win against the Mississippi Braves. “The more fans the better. The more energy they can bring, the more that is going to help everyone’s game.

“It was a good turnout I thought and hopefully we can continue to pack it out.”

On the mound, Eder’s second professional start became as significant as last week’s debut. He twice pitched out situations with runners in scoring position to throw five shutout innings.

“My goal is to just keep stringing them together, hit a standard every time I’m out there,” said Eder, a fourth round pick in 2019. “Once this one happens, I’m on to the next.”

He finished with another impressive pitching line. In 72 pitches, he threw 47 strikes with seven strikeouts, two walks. He has not allowed a run in two pro starts.

The two relievers who followed, Jose Mesa Jr. and Anthony Maldonado were equally effective. Mesa gave up a solo home run that tied the game in the sixth, but that was the only hit he allowed in three innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, after a one-out double from Victor Victor Mesa and Bleday following with a walk, Encarnacion launched a towering shot that gained just enough lift from a 12-mph wind to right field that eluded a leaping attempt by Barons’ star right fielder MIcker Adolfo.

Maldonado finished the game in the ninth as the crowd at Blue Wahoos Stadium stood and cheered.

Barons started Kade McClure gave up just three hits and Bleday’s homer in his fivie innings of work. His father, Brian, played one season at quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and finished 10th in the 1985 Heisman Trophy balloting out of Bowling Green.

The Blue Wahoos will continue their series against the Barons on Thursday in the debut of Pensacola Mullet Night and the team wearing speciality uniforms, while taking on the nickname of Mullets for the one night.

by Bill Vilona, Blue Wahoos Senior Write

Photos for, click to enlarge.


One Response to “Blue Wahoos Beat The Barons 4-1”

  1. Donald Preston on May 17th, 2021 10:50 pm

    It’s good to see MiLB baseball being played again in Pensacola. Get out and support your Blue Wahoos!

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