The Blue Wahoos improved their record to 11-6 in the second half and remain tied for first in the Southern League's South Division with a Montgomery victory. The BayBears fell to 7-10 since the Southern League All-Star Break with the defeat. The capacity crowd was the 30th of the year in their 43rd home opening.
Former Alabama star running back and number three overall draft pick by the Cleveland Browns Trent Richardson was in attendance and joined the team for batting practice before throwing out a ceremonial first pitch just prior to the contest.
Pensacola got the scoring started in the third, when Didi Gregorius started the two-out rally with a triple to right and was sent in by LF Bryson Smith's single up the middle. Smith would subsequently score when Mills launched a two-run shot to left to put the Blue Wahoos ahead 3-0.
The Fish would add four more in the sixth to extend the margin to 7-0. 3B David Vidal began the inning with a walk and then scored on a run-scoring double from C Mark Fleury, who would move to third on a groundball before coming home when Cingrani reached on a fielder's choice. Gregorius then got on with a base knock and Smith was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Mills, who laced a line drive down the left field line to plate Cingrani and Gregorius.
After Pensacola plated their final run of the game in the eighth with Smith's sacrifice fly, Mobile brought home two in the final frame to end the Fish's shutout hopes. 3B Matt Davidson and 1B Marc Krauss drew back-to-back free passes to start the frame before 2B David Nick singled to load the bases for C Ed Easley. The backstop would then single to right to send home Davidson and Krauss, though that would be Mobile's only scores.
Blue Wahoos starter Tony Cingrani (6.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 SO) earned the win after yielding just two hits for the second straight outing and allowed three walks in his six scoreless frames. The southpaw has not been scored on in his last three outings, totaling 20.2 consecutive shutout frames. Reliever Drew Hayes (2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 SO) followed Cingrani to shut down the BayBears bats with two quiet innings, while Mobile starter Chase Anderson (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) suffered the loss to fall to 2-2.
Mills (2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB) and Gregorius (2-5, 2 R, 1 3B) each tallied two hits in the contest to lead the Blue Wahoos, in addition to all eight position players in Pensacola's lineup collecting a base knock. Easley was the only BayBear batter to collect a multi-hit game in the losing effort.
With the Blue Wahoos up 1-0 in the series and 6-5 in the overall season series with Mobile, the two teams will square off again Sunday afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 2:05 pm at the bayfront stadium. Pensacola has not yet announced their starting pitcher, while the BayBears are expected to send LHP David Holmberg to the mound.
It's Family Sunday at the stadium, presented by McDonald's, with Kids Run the Bases and Family Toss on the field following the contest. Fans not able to attend can catch the game on television locally on WFXG My 35, as well as online on MiLB.TV and on 1450 AM ESPN Pensacola.