Some nights the hits are tough to come by, but even in a game where the Pensacola Blue Wahoos managed only three hits, they had a chance at the end to knock off the Mobile BayBears Wednesday.
Runners were on first and second after Sebastian Elizalde drew a walk and Kyle Parker smacked a base hit to the outfield. But Brandon Dixon and Eric Jagielo both struck out as Pensacola fell 2-0 and lost its second consecutive game.
It’s only the sixth time this year the Blue Wahoos have lost two or more in a row.
“We had the winning run at the plate and that is what you want,” Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said. “We usually always give ourselves a chance.”
Even with the loss, Pensacola remains in the thick of the first half South Division title chase. The Blue Wahoos and Biloxi Shuckers are tied for first, both teams boasting 37-28 records. The first half ends Sunday and the winner of the division clinches a Southern League playoff berth.
And while losing is never easy, it sure beats being out of the title hunt, which is what the Blue Wahoos were a year ago when they won only 25 games in the first half before winning the second-half crown.
“It’s fun. I’d rather be in that position than where we were last year,” Kelly said.
Rasiel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds made a rehab start Wednesday and looked solid in two innings, striking out two and not allowing a run or a hit. His first two pitches went for 91 and 92 miles per hour. Iglesias, a native of Cuba coming off his first season in Major League Baseball, is expected to make at least one more start in Pensacola.
“He had a little better velocity than the last start here,” Kelly said. “He definitely kept (Mobile) off balance. He was impressive.”
Jackson Stephens worked the next 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on six hits. He struck out six as he fell to 5-5 on the season.
Meanwhile, Anthony Banda of the BayBears dominated the normally potent Pensacola lineup, allowing just two hits while striking out nine in eight innings. He is 6-2.
“He was outstanding,” Kelly said. “We didn’t have many good swings on him. His fastball is very deceptive and he has a very good changeup.”
Pensacola scored 10 runs in a win over Jackson June 9 but has tallied only 12 runs in the last six.
“I think we’ve seen some good pitching,” Kelly said. “We knew it would be tough.”
Read more about the Blue Wahoos in the June 23 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.