Pensacola, FL. - Keury Mella made his first start at Blue Wahoos Stadium on April 8, 2017. Despite making 13 additional starts, Mella would have to wait 369 days before finally recording his first ever win at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Mella was terrific Thursday, baffling Lookouts hitters for the majority of the night as three Blue Wahoos pitchers combined for the team's first shutout win of the season.
On a windy night in Pensacola, Mella made sure to pound the strike zone early and often against the Lookouts. While he only recorded three strikeouts on the night, Mella never allowed a walk and only yielded five hits. For most of the evening, he was generating weak groundouts and soft fly outs, and never seemed under duress.
Despite struggling at times with his command, Chattanooga starter Stephen Gonsalves held up his end of the pitchers' duel. The number four prospect in the Twins organization held the Wahoos scoreless through four innings.
Lookouts managers Tommy Watkins went to the bullpen and brought in another southpaw in Sam Clay who fired a one-two-three inning in the fifth. When he returned in the sixth, the Wahoos rallied for the first two runs of the game.
With one out in the inning, Gabby Guerrero singled before Josh VanMeter hit a two-strike double into the left-center gap to bring home Guerrero for a 1-0 lead. Aristides Aquino immediately followed that up with a double of his own to score VanMeter and double up the advantage. In the seventh, the Wahoos added one more insurance run when Aquino legged out an infield single to allow Guerrero to score from third to make it 3-0.
Alex Power and Ariel Hernandez got the bullpen back on track with three combined scoreless innings to secure the shutout.
The series continues tomorrow night on the first FANtastic Friday of the season. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will receive replica Southern League championship rings presented by Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (0-1, 9.82) will get the nod for the Blue Wahoos while the Lookouts will send Randy LeBlanc out for the Lookouts (0-1, 3.60).
- Pensacola Blue Wahoos -
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The 2018 season is underway at beautiful Blue Wahoos Stadium on Pensacola Bay. Group packages, season tickets, mini plans and single-game tickets are available for the 2018 season by calling (850) 934-8444 or online. Follow the 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.