The Pensacola Blue Wahoos worst stretch this season happened at the wrong time.Their defining series against the Biloxi Shuckers became a forgettable one, following Tuesday's 6-0 loss which completed the Shuckers' five-game sweep at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.After entering last Friday with a one-game lead in the Southern League
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos worst stretch this season happened at the wrong time.
Their defining series against the Biloxi Shuckers became a forgettable one, following Tuesday's 6-0 loss which completed the Shuckers' five-game sweep at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss.
After entering last Friday with a one-game lead in the Southern League South Division first half race, the Blue Wahoos (36-29) now trail the Shuckers (40-25) by four games and only five games left in the first half schedule.
The solace is the Blue Wahoos will be back home Wednesday to face the Tennessee Smokies, the Chicago Cubs affiliate, in a five-game series through Father's Day weekend at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
The Blue Wahoos will seek to gain a better feeling as the first half ends, next week's Southern League All-Star break awaits, then standings are reset for the second half schedule which starts June 20. The team had not lost more than three consecutive games all season before losing the entire series at Biloxi.
The scenario was a repeat of last season's second half end as a Cincinnati Reds affiliate when the Blue Wahoos had a two-game lead in the second-half division chase and lost five straight games at Biloxi. They reached the playoffs as a wild card entry since Biloxi, the Milwaukee Brewers affiliate, captured both half season division wins.
After losing a back-and-forth 9-7 game Monday night, the Blue Wahoos had a rough performance Tuesday in a game that began at 10:35 a.m. Three Biloxi pitchers combined on a two-hitter and struck out 16 Blue Wahoos batters.
Travis Blankenhorn and Taylor Grzelakowski had the Blue Wahoos' only hits. Both players also reached on a walk during the game. Blankenhorn has continued to be the team's leading hitter with a .306 average.
Andro Cutura, who grew up in Slidell, La., only an hour away, and had a family contingent in the stands, started the game and worked a solid first four innings. He allowed a solo homer by Max McDowell in the third inning.
But in the fifth, Cutura encountered trouble. He issued a pair of walks to start the inning. Cooper Hummel followed with a two-run single. With two out, Jake Gatewood doubled to score Hummel and make it 4-0.
The Shuckers added two more runs in the eighth inning off reliever Adam Bray. With two outs in the eighth, Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego summoned shortstop Jordan Gore to finish the inning on the mound. He faced two batters, giving up a hit, then ending the inning on a pop out.
It was Gore's second time as a reliever this season.
Biloxi has won 22 of its last 27 games in overtaking the Blue Wahoos, who had been atop the South Division standings since opening day in April until the past weekend.
The Shuckers also took the lead in the Seafood Buffet Series with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and the Blue Wahoos vying for best overall record. The winning team at the end of the season will have a catered meal provided by the other teams' namesake seafood item.
The Blue Wahoos will now turn focus to finishing the first half in a good way at home. They begin with a Wine and Sign Wednesday promotion against the Smokies. Adult fans coming to the ballpark will enjoy wine specials. Two players will be signing autographs for kids and older fans in the Bait and Tackle Team store.