Bleday Homers, But Wahoos Fall 5-2 To Mississippi

June 4, 2021

The Blue Wahoos were two outs from being shut out for the first time this season.

JJ Bleday ensured it didn’t happen.

The touted outfielder blasted a 98-mph fastball off the right-field scoreboard – a 387-foot, 2-run bomb – that provided a measure of ninth inning solace in the Blue Wahoos 5-2 loss Thursday against the Mississippi Braves at Blue Wahoos Stadium.

A crowd of 4,555 on the season’s third Pensacola Mullets Night, complete with the uniforms and logo change, had watched four M-Braves pitchers silence Pensacola’s offense unlike any prior game until the final inning.

Up stepped Bleday. Out went the two-strike pitch from Daysbel Hernandez, much to the crowd’s delight. They had seen just two previous Mullets hits.

It was Bleday’s second home run with Pensacola, both in this ballpark.

Bleday, the fourth overall draft pick in 2019 by the Miami Marlins, has collected three hits and reached base four times in the past two games. It’s been the positive aspect from back-to-back losses, after the Blue Wahoos had a five-game home win streak.

Opportunities Thursday were missed earlier in the game when Pensacola (16-11) had five base runners through five innings.

The M-Braves (14-13) got their first three runs on two-out hits. In the first inning, starter Jeff Lindgren retired the first two batters, but M-Braves touted catcher Shea Langeliers, who went 4-for-5 Wednesday with three homers, singled to start the production.

CJ Alexander then followed with a RBI double in the left-center gap.

In the third inning, the M-Braves Justin Dean led off with a walk, stole second and scored on CJ Alexander’s two-out single.

The M-Braves manufactured another run in the fourth inning after Wendell Rijo reached on a fielder’s choice, then scored on Dean’s two-out double.

Their other two runs were emphatic.

Rijo left no doubt in the sixth when blasting Pensacola reliever Dylan Bice’s fastball 442 feet over the left center wall into the water for a two-run homer.

In the stands, however, the night had plenty of activities with the first “Wahoo Waddle” as part of Thirsty Thursday. Adults of legal age were able to sample a variety of beverage specials at kiosk stands throughout the concourse area.

The crowd batted giant beach balls in the stands to start the game.

For the first time at the stadium, it became a venue for the annual Pensacola stop with the Troy University athletic department.

Troy head football coach Chip Lindsey and women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby, along with men’s basketball coach Scott Cross visited as part of Troy’s Trojan Tour. They had food and visited with a group of Troy supporters on the Dignity Memorial Deck above the left-field corner during the game.

In addition, the Navarre High baseball team had a 250-member group sitting in Sections 115 and 117 along the third-base line.

The Blue Wahoos, who lead their division in the Double-A South, will try to even the six-game series on Friday night with left-hander Will Stewart starting against the M-Braves AJ Puckett.

Riley Mahan and Jerar Encarnacion had the other Pensacola hits Thursday, both singles.

by Bill Vilona, Blue Wahoos senior writer


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