PEARL, MS -- After two pitcher's duels and a slugfest, it only made sense that the fifth and final game of the series between the Mississippi Braves (24-26) and Pensacola Blue Wahoos (28-22) would come down to a late comeback and a wild finish. The home team came out on top 3-2, snapping a three-game losing streak for Mississippi.
On the mound, the M-Braves went with middle-reliever Michael Mader in a spot-start. Mader went four innings, dominanting three of the four. A shaky second frame allowed Pensacola to take an early lead. A one-out single by Angelo Gumbs was followed by a four-pitch walk to Alex Blandino. Mader responded with a quick strikeout of Adrian Nieto, but then walked the eighth and ninth hitters in the order on eight straight balls with the walk to Keury Mella plating the first run of the game. Blake Trahan then earned a walk on five pitches to score the second and final run for Pensacola. Mader got out of the inning with a groundout, but surrendered two runs on three walks and a hit.
After the second, Mader along with the bullpen effectively shut down the Blue Wahoos at the plate. Lefty Jesse Biddle (1-2) picked up his first win of the year in three scoreless innings behind Mader. Biddle allowed just the one hit and struck out two. Phillip Pfiefer started the eighth but only lasted three batters, recording an out and two walks before manager Luis Salazar made the move to the pen for Jason Hursh.
Hursh entered the eighth with runners at first and second and one out, facing the cleanup batter in Aristedes Aquino. Hursh was jumped ahead in the count 1-2 before getting a tailor-made double play ball to end the threat and hold onto the one-run lead. Hursh finished the game, getting a second double-play after an error to end the game for his third save of the year.
Offensively, the M-Braves struggled initially. Mississippi stranded a runner at third base in the first, fifth and sixth innings. In the seventh, the first three batters of the inning reached on relief pitcher Robert Stock (1-1) via a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. Levi Hyams picked up his fifth RBI of the season on a groundout to second to make it 2-1 Pensacola with runners at second and third and still just one out.
Pensacola skipper Pat Kelly made the move to hard-throwing closer Ariel Hernandez to try and hold the lead with runners in scoring position. Hernandez hurled his second pitch past the catcher to the backstop, just his second wild pitch of the year. With Kade Scivique running at third, a good bounce off the backstop gave Nieto a chance to throw the runner out at the plate, but Hernandez was late covering. The throw ricocheted off the glove of Hernandez toward first base, allowing the speedy Reed Harper to score the eventual game-winning run. Officially, all three runs were charged to Stock, but the third and final run was unearned because Hernandez missed the catch.
Ronald Acuna had another multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two singles. Joey Meneses, Keith Curcio, Jared James and Scivique all added a single. Levi Hyams added an RBI despite going 0-for-1 at the plate.
The Braves take Memorial Day off and then travel to Jackson, TN, for a five-game series against the Generals Tuesday through Saturday.
WP: Biddle 1-2
LP: Stock 1-1
SV: Hursh 3
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.