PENSACOLA, Fla. - Jake Marisnick launched two grand slams and broke the Jacksonville Suns (28-23) record for RBI's in a game as the Suns beat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (18-34) 11-2 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
Marisnick blasted bases loaded home runs in back to back innings in the seventh and eighth, both off Blue Wahoos right-hander Josh Ravin, and finished his night with a Southern League record-tying nine RBI's. The homers were the first two grand slams of Marisnick's professional career.
"I felt good, I felt comfortable," Marisnick said following his record-setting night. "I kind of slowed some stuff down, got some good pitches to hit and put some good swings on them."
Jacksonville had built a slim 2-0 lead when Marisnick came to the plate in the seventh, already 1-for-3 with a run batted in. With the bases loaded and one out, Marisnick crushed a 1-2 pitch from Ravin over the left-field wall for his first grand slam, giving the Suns a 6-0 advantage.
"It was a curveball, he just left it up," Marisnick said of the pitch from Ravin. "I just took a nice, easy swing at it and connected with it."
Just one inning later, after Christian Yelich knocked in the Suns' seventh run with a single, Marisnick again came to the plate with the bases full, this time with two outs. Marisnick worked the count to 1-1 and then whacked his second grand slam over the fence in left, finishing his 3-for-5, nine RBI night.
"[Ravin] threw me a fastball, and I fouled the first one back," Marisnick said. "Then he threw the same one, and I was right on it."
The offensive outburst came at an ideal time for the Suns, who had scored a total of ten runs over their last eight games. Jacksonville tallied 12 hits and rode Marisnick's grand slams to their 28th win of the season.
"We haven't been swinging the bats really well," Marisnick said. "For a lot of us to come out and have good nights tonight was huge for the team."
"He's a special young player," Suns manager Andy Barkett said following the victory. "He's got a lot of talent. They left some pitches out over the plate, and he showed what he can do."
The Suns' lone run through the first six innings was enough to hand Blue Wahoos' right-hander Daniel Renken the loss. Renken, struck out seven and only allowed four hits but did not receive enough support from his offense to avoid dropping his fourth decision of the year.
Coupled with the Mississippi Braves' loss at Trustmark Park to the Montgomery Biscuits, the Suns' win achieved a virtual tie atop the Southern League South division.
Lost in Marisnick's historic performance was a strong outing from Suns' right-handed starter Robert Morey, who kept the Blue Wahoos at bay while the contest still remained a close affair. Morey threw six shutout innings, limiting Pensacola to just six hits and striking out four. Morey also walked only one batter in earning his second win in 2013.
Yelich finished his night 2-for-4, including a leadoff triple that snapped a seven-game hitless streak for the Marlins' number two overall prospect. Logan Morrison, with the club on a Major League rehab assignment, pinch hit in the seventh inning and drew a walk.
The Suns will try to secure a series tie in game five of the six-game set on Friday behind Bryan Evans (0-2, 9.00), making his third start for Jacksonville in 2013. Evans will face right-hander Josh Smith (3-5, 4.10) for Pensacola, as the Blue Wahoos attempt to recover from Marisnick's impressive performance.
Suns fans can listen to Friday's game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET with the UF and Shands Suns Pre-Game Show.