PENSACOLA, Fla., - Pensacola Blue Wahoos center fielder Brian O'Grady knew going up to bat that the Mobile BayBears reliever Michael Dimock likes to throw sliders.
He ripped a slider that didn't slide for a walk-off double to right field that drove in both left fielder Gabriel Guerrero and shortstop Blake Trahan for a, 3-2, victory Thursday in front of 4,889 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
It was the third walk-off for Pensacola this season, which had a team record 12 last year. The players have nicknamed the walk-offs the "Wahoo Way."
"In the dugout, we were joking about the Wahoo Way," O'Grady said. "It's not giving up until the game is over. The pressure really is on them. We're just out there battling. It's definitely a good feeling."
Blue Wahoos manager Pat Kelly said because Pensacola has had walk-offs so often the past two seasons, the team now expects it.
"You win as many games as we have and you start to believe it," Kelly said. "They're still talking about the Wahoo Way."
O'Grady's walk-off was set up by an amazing sacrifice bunt by Pensacola catcher Joe Hudson on an inside pitch. It moved Guerrero and Trahan to third and second base.
Kelly called it "tremendous." O'Grady added: "Without that bunt right there, the walk-off is not possible."
Pensacola improved to 7-8 in one run games this season and is 23-18 on the season to remain in first place in the Southern League South Division.
After earning just three hits and striking out eight times over the first seven innings, the Blue Wahoos sprung to life. Pensacola right fielder Aristides Aquino launched a ball deep to center field that bounced off the top of the wall 400-feet away for a triple with two outs. It drove in third baseman Josh VanMeter. The score pulled Pensacola within one run heading into the ninth, 2-1.
Aquino is 11-38, or .289, in his last 11 games with three homers and 13 RBIs. He also narrowly missed throwing Mobile right fielder Forrestt Allday, who scored Mobile's second run, out at home with a strike in the fifth inning. Then in the sixth inning, Aquino threw to first base to almost get center fielder Michael Hermosillo out.
"Guys like him are so extraordinary to watch," Kelly said.
Pensacola Blue Wahoos starter Tyler Mahle wasn't so perfect against the Mobile BayBears in his second meeting against them. He allowed 12 runners on base in his six innings of work. When Mahle faced the BayBears on April 22, the 22-year-old right-hander tossed a perfect nine-inning game.
He gave up seven hits, walked three, hit a batter and gave up a fielder's choice and allowed two earned runs Thursday.
In the third inning, he faced six batters, walking the leadoff batter and giving up two singles. Mobile left fielder Zach Gibbons line drive hit to center field scored first baseman Luis Tejada for a 1-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, the 22-year-old right-hander walked a batter, hit another with a pitch and gave up a single. Mobile added another run when Allday, who has reached base in 23 straight games, scored on a sacrifice fly to Aquino in right field to put the BayBears up, 2-0.
It appeared Mobile would score again off Pensacola's Mahle in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. But he got Tejada to pop out to second and struck out shortstop Alberto Triunfel to get out of the jam.
"It could have been six or seven to nothing," Kelly said. "They could have easily blown the game open. I've got to credit Mahle for going out there, not having his best stuff, and keeping his team in the ball game."
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos host the second game of the five-game series against the Los Angeles Angels Double-A affiliate Mobile BayBears at 6:35 p.m. Friday, May 18. The BayBears starter is RHP Alex Blackford (0-1, 3.38) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Austin Ross (4-0, 1.13).
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
BIG FISH Center fielder Brian O'Grady was 2-3 with two doubles, including a walk-off the drove in two runs…Left fielder Gabriel Guerrero was 3-4 and scored a run for his 17th multi-hit game this season...Right fielder Aristides Aquino was 1-4 with a triple and drove in a run…Third baseman Josh VanMeter went 1-4 and scored a run.
SUPPORT THE TROOPS During the month of May, the Blue Wahoos and Whataburger are teaming up to collect donations for USO Northwest Florida. The USO will deliver the items directly to the troops currently serving the United States. Fans who donate during the drive will receive a coupon for a free Whataburger. This week fans can drop off single-serve microwavable snacks such as mac and cheese, ramen noodles, ravioli, etc. Bottled water and canned soda will be accepted all month long.
Tickets to the 2017 Southern League All-Star Game are on sale now! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com or visiting the Box Office. Orders can also be placed over the phone by calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at BlueWahoos.com, facebook.com/PensacolaBlueWahoos and twitter.com/BlueWahoosBBall.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.