The stage was set for a thrilling finish Wednesday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Pensacola, down 2-0 to the Jacksonville Suns, went into the ninth inning with hope for a comeback win.
The heart of that hope was beating hard as the Blue Wahoos loaded the bases on a walk by Phillip Ervin and base hits by Tony Renda and Brandon Dixon, the crowd of 3,280 coming to life.
Ray Chang’s sacrifice fly drove in the first run of the night for Pensacola before Joe Hudson grounded into a force out, sealing the Blue Wahoos’ fate in a 2-1 loss to the Suns.
“We gave ourselves a chance with the walk and two base hits,” Pensacola manager Pat Kelly said. “This team shows a lot of grit. (Jacksonville) scored two runs and we didn’t give up. We came right back.”
It was only the second loss of the year for the Blue Wahoos (5-2), who entered the night on a four-game win streak and riding the high of their best start in franchise history.
A stellar pitching outing by highly touted prospect Amir Garrett kept the Blue Wahoos in the game. He threw six scoreless innings of baseball, striking out seven, including the first four batters he faced. Twice, he escaped situations in the fifth and sixth innings where runners were in scoring position.
“It was my first home game. I was pretty pumped up,” Garrett said. “I knew I was facing a really good pitcher (Jarlin Garcia) and my thought process was to not give up the first run and keep going at it.”
The Suns scored their only two runs in the eighth and never looked back as they evened the five-game series at one game apiece. Jacksonville finished with six hits. Pensacola tallied five.
“Garrett was just as good if not better. It was a really well pitched game for both teams.”
Read more about the Blue Wahoos in the April 21 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.