Blue Wahoos cash in on power and pitching in latest win

Brandon Dixon broke out of his slump, Chad Wallach put his power on display and Jackson Stephens nailed down his first win in a month as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos topped the Mississippi Braves 5-1 Tuesday night.

It was the second consecutive win for Pensacola, which is 60-48 overall, including a 19-19 mark in the second half of the Southern League season.

Dixon’s homer in the second broke a 2-for-28 hitting slump. It was his 14th home run of the year. Wallach knocked in two runs with his blast, which sent the ball sailing into the bay over the left-field wall. The homer was his fifth of the year.

Wallach, on the disabled list a month ago with a broken hand, felt good about his latest performance.

“I stayed within myself and got a good pitch to hit,” Wallach said. “It was nice to hit it out.”

The shot gave Pensacola a 3-0 lead in the fourth and helped provide the run support Stephens needed to end a streak of four consecutive losses.

The 2012 18th-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds pitched well in those games, striking out a combined 19 batters, but the Blue Wahoos managed only four runs total during the stretch.

Stephens was sensational en route to his seventh win, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings of work. He retired 12 batters at one point, striking out seven along the way.

“With Stephens throwing so well, we wanted to give him a little bit of run support,” Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said. “Those home runs were big for him. I thought Stephens was very effective.”

Alex Blandino was effective as well and showed off his potential once again, smacking a hit to right that brought in the final two runs of the game.

“I’m not sure if Alex was totally healthy coming out of spring training but he (hitting coach) and Alex (Pelaez) have been working in the cage and he’s made some adjustments and has had success.”

Wallach is feeling good, too, his second home run in the last nine games the latest proof of that.

“I’ve hit a few more home runs coming off the DL,” Wallach said. “I’m feeling fresh and my swing feels good. When that happens, you hit the ball well.”

Read more  in the Aug. 4 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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