JACKSONVILLE, Fla., - Pensacola Blue Wahoos right fielder Aristides Aquino crushed his team-leading 17th homer of the season to help his ballclub overcome the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 5-1, at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
The victory helped Pensacola -- the first half Southern Division title winners -- win its third straight game to capture the five-game series, 3-2 over second half champion Jacksonville.
Pensacola went ahead, 3-0, in the first inning when first baseman Gavin LaValley singled to right field with two outs to drive in shortstop Blake Trahan to put the Blue Wahoos up, 1-0. That's when Aquino launched a two-run homer to left field with LaValley on base to make it a 3-0 game. For the season, Aquino has a team-leading 17 homers and 56 RBIs.
In the fourth inning, Pensacola scored two more to go up, 5-0. LaValley scored the first run when center fielder Jonathan Reynoso hit a sacrifice fly to center field. Hudson then smacked his 15th double of the season to drive in Aquino.
Aquino went 2-for-4 with a homer, his 20th double, scored twice and knocked in two in Monday's game. LaValley went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and his 34th RBI in the second half for Pensacola.
Jacksonville avoided being shutout when third baseman David Vidal scored in the bottom of the fourth inning when catcher Rodrigo Vigil grounded out into a double play to trail Pensacola, 5-1.
Pensacola starting pitcher Jesus Reyes worked five innings allowed one run on eight hits, walked one and struck out one.
The Blue Wahoos starting pitchers Austin Ross, Keury Mella and Reyes allowed three earned runs in 18 innings for a 1.50 ERA in the last three games. Pensacola owns the second-best ERA in the Southern League at 3.14 this season.
Pensacola and Jacksonville have the day off Tuesday and then start the best of five game playoff series for the Southern Division crown scheduled to start at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Blue Wahoos Stadium. Pensacola also hosts the second game before heading to Jacksonville.
The Blue Wahoos won a Southern League record four halves in a row this season to tie the Tennessee Smokies, which also won four straight halves between 2009 and 2011.
Pensacola improved to 34-36 in the second half and 74-66 this regular season. Meanwhile, Jacksonville fell to 39-31 and 69-71 to end the year.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos play the first game of the best of five Southern Division playoff series against the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday. The Jumbo Shrimp scheduled starter is RHP Chris Mazza (4-7, 3.01) against the Blue Wahoos scheduled starter RHP Deck McGuire (9-9, 2.79 ERA).
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.
BIG FISH Right fielder Aristides Aquino was 2-for-4, with a double, two-run homer, two runs scored for a team-leading 17 homers and 56 RBIs this season...First baseman Gavin LaValley went 3-for-4, two runs scored and one RBI for 34 with the Blue Wahoos...Catcher Joe Hudson was 1-for-4, 15 double on the year and 16 RBIs...Center fielder Jonathan Reynoso 1-for-3 and 8 RBIs.
Tickets to the 2017 playoffs are now on sale! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or 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.