Pensacola starting pitcher Chad Rogers earned his second win in as many starts at the Double-A level, with relievers Drew Hayes and Justin Freeman keeping Chattanooga off the board, while shortstop Billy Hamilton stole three bases to increase his total to 131 as the Blue Wahoos shut out the Lookouts 5-0 on Wednesday night at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
With the win, the Fish moved to a 24-22 record in the second of the season, keeping within two games of the first-place Jacksonville Suns in the South Division. Chattanooga fell to a 26-20 mark since the All-Star Break with the loss.
Rogers (6.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 6 SO) threw six solid innings to improve to 2-0 with the Blue Wahoos, yielding just three hits while striking out six. Rogers also recorded his first professional hit of his career with a triple to center in the sixth, later scoring. Hayes (2.0 IP, 2 SO) and Freeman (1.0 IP, 1 H) followed Rogers by combining to give up just one hit and no walks in the final three frames, while Lookouts starter Matt Magill (5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) suffered the loss.
The scoreless outing from Freeman increased his scoreless consecutive innings streak to 21.2 innings dating back to June 22. In those 17 appearances, the right-hander has been successful in all 11 save opportunities and combined to give up just seven hits. Left-hander Tony Cingrani owns the team-record at 24.0 straight shutout frames, having accomplished that task between June 22 until July 13.
After reaching on an infield hit in the fourth, Hamilton proceeded to swipe second and then third, before coming home on a throwing error to push Pensacola up 1-0. The speedster tallied his third theft of the contest two innings later after reaching on a base knock before taking advantage of a wild pitch for the club's second score of the inning, which made it 4-0.
3B David Vidal, who reached base three times, led off the fifth with a double and advanced to third on a flyout before being sent in on C Mark Fleury's sacrifice fly to center. Pensacola plated their final tally in the eighth after RF Josh Fellhauer drew a free pass, his third of the game and got to third on a base knock prior to scoring on a fielder's choice.
Hamilton (2-4, 2 R) was the lone Blue Wahoos batter to record two hits in the contest, while Chattanooga RF Blake Smith (2-4, 1 2B) collected half of the Lookouts' four base knocks. With his three thefts, the 21-year-old has now stolen 131 bases this season, meaning he needs 15 to break Vince Coleman's single-season Minor League record of 145, which he set in 1983.
The two teams are scheduled to face off again Thursday night, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium. LHP Tony Cingrani is slated to toe the rubber for the Blue Wahoos, while the Lookouts are expected to counter with LHP Aaron Miller.
Thursday night is Thirsty Thursday at the bayfront stadium, with beer and soda specials going on all night, beginning when gates open at 5:30 p.m. Select beers are $2 and 12 oz. canned sodas are $1 presented by Wells Fargo. Traveling entertainer Myron Noodleman will also be on hand to entertain fans during the contest with his antics between innings and in the stands.
Fans unable to attend can catch the game on television locally on WFGX My 35, as well as online on MiLB.TV and BlueWahoos.com. The game will be broadcast on a tape delay on 1450 AM ESPN Pensacola, due to the New Orleans Saints' pre-season game Thursday night. Tickets for the series are still available and can be purchased online at BlueWahoos.com or at the Hill Kelly Dodge Pickup Window at the front of the stadium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.