PENSACOLA, Fla. - Pensacola Blue Wahoos right fielder Aristides Aquino hit an RBI single in the top of the 12th inning Friday to give his team a 5-4 victory as Game Three visitors on the scoreboard against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, winning a Southern League Co-Championship and South Division Series via a three-game sweep at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Playing as the home team, the Jumbo Shrimp opened the scoring in the second inning against Pensacola right-hander Austin Ross. Third baseman David Vidal walked, shortstop KC Serna singled, and first baseman Taylor Ard walked. Second baseman Alex Yarbrough hit an RBI single to left field, and catcher Rodrigo Vigil hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
The Blue Wahoos answered against Jacksonville right-hander Trevor Richards in the fourth inning. Four singles in a five-batter span scored a run, and third baseman Arismendy Alcantara hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Braxton Lee, whose throw got away from Vigil, but he caught a baserunner in a rundown to end the inning and keep the game tied, 2-2. Richards finished five innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Jumbo Shrimp right-hander Tyler Higgins worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and left-hander Daniel Schlereth got the final two outs of the top of the seventh inning with runners at first and third bases. In the bottom of the inning, Yarbrough singled to left field, went to second base on Vigil's sacrifice and scored on Lee's two-out, go-ahead single into center field. Ross allowed three earned runs on seven hits and three walks with no strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
In the top of the eighth inning against Jacksonville right-hander Tyler Kinley, LaValley and Aquino hit consecutive solo home runs to left field to give the Blue Wahoos a 4-3 lead. Jacksonville tied it in the bottom of the ninth inning against right-hander Zack Weiss, as Vigil hit a leadoff double, and with two outs, left fielder Austin Dean hit a game-tying single.
Pensacola retook the lead in the top of the 12th inning against right-hander Ryan Beckman. Gabriel Guerrero reached on a leadoff throwing error by Serna and advanced when Beckman hit center fielder Jonathan Reynoso, and LaValley flied out to right field. Aquino lined an RBI single to center field before an inning-ending double play. Left-hander Andrew McKirahan worked the final two innings for the Blue Wahoos to earn the win and his club's first title.
With the 2017 BC® Powder Southern League Championship Series canceled due to Hurricane Irma, each of the winners of the best-of-five North and South Division Series are being declared Co-Champions for the 2017 Southern League season.
UP NEXT: The Jumbo Shrimp open the 2018 season presented by Community First Credit Union on April 5, 2018, in Jackson, Tennessee. The 2018 home opener is Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Season ticket renewals and new packages for the 2018 season may be reserved with a nonrefundable 25 percent deposit by calling a Jumbo Shrimp account representative at (904) 358-2846 or at the box office, which is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and during home games for the remainder of the 2017 season.
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are beginning a new era of affordable family fun with the 2017 season presented by Community First Credit Union at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. With a new lineup of ticket and group options, there is a reason for everyone to get part of the action by calling the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visiting www.jaxshrimp.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.