Dependable Dobnak Guides Blue Wahoos Past Jacksonville

Righthander has season-high outing in team's 8-1 win

Randy Dobnak produced a season-high outing and became one of few Blue Wahoos pitchers to work into seventh inning Friday during team's 8-1 win (Daniel Venn)

By Bill Vilona, Senior Writer / Pensacola Blue Wahoos | June 21, 2019 10:57 PM

Randy Dobnak had few college offers in high school and hasn't been anointed among anyone's list of top prospects.

But what he's done is become the Pensacola Blue Wahoos most consistently effective pitcher.

Dobnak, 24, followed a season-best outing eight days ago with one better Friday night, after working seven complete innings and leading the Blue Wahoos to an 8-1 victory against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Amid a crowd of 7,351 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on a post-game fireworks night, Dobnak (3-0) sparkled by scattering seven hits, allowing no walks and striking out seven. In his previous start, he worked 6.2 innings at Blue Wahoos Stadium in a no-decision June 13 against the Tennessee Smokies.

The righthander shrugged off a booming, first-inning home run by Jumbo Shrimp second baseman Riley Mahan, to work in precision the rest of the game.

He had plenty of run support. Three Blue Wahoos had multiple hits, including newcomers Lewin Diaz and Aaron Whitefield, both of whom joined the team earlier this week on promotions from the Fort Myers Miracle, the Minnesota Twins' High-A affiliate. The duo also had two RBI apiece Friday.

All of it equated into another enjoyable night for Steve Singleton, the Blue Wahoos hitting coach, who is the acting manager in this five-game series. Singleton is the substitute skipper while Ramon Borrego is on an extended vacation from the all-star break with his family.

The Minnesota Twins allow their minor league coaching staffs to take a five-day break during the season and Borrego chose to pair his vacation around the Southern League All-Star break. This is Singleton's first time as a Double-A level manager.

The Blue Wahoos (40-32 overall, 2-0 second half) have responded for him in both games with strong pitching and timely hitting.

Borrego will be back when the Blue Wahoos begin a nine-game homestand on Tuesday night in Pensacola.

The Blue Wahoos took advantage of three Jacksonville errors, one apiece in the first three innings, to produce runs.

In the first inning, Travis Blankenhorn, who went 2-4 with two walks, led off by reaching on Mahan's fielding error. He moved to second on a wild pitch, then to third on a ground out and scored on Diaz' two-out single.

In the second inning, after two out, Joe Cronin singled and Blankenhorn walked. Alex Kirilloff, who rejoined the team Thursday after missing the last two weeks of the first-half schedule, produced an RBI single that became a two-run play after a fielding error.

Ben Rortvedt followed Kirilloff's hit with a walk. Diaz and Whitefield then hit back-to-back, RBI singles to give the Blue Wahoos a 5-0 lead.

In the third inning, Jordan Gore reached on an error and scored on Blankenhorn's two-out double. Blankenhorn had a second RBI in the fifth inning when he singled home Mark Contreras.

Whitefield, who finished 3-for-5, completed the scoring with an RBI double in the eighth inning.

Dobnak, meanwhile, retired the Jumbo Shrimp (29-43), the Miami Marlins affiliate, in three out succession during the second, fourth and fifth innings. He threw 91 pitchers in the seven-inning start, giving way to Tom Hackimer, who pitched the final two scoreless innings.

Dobnak grew up in Pittsburgh and played college ball at Alderson Broaddus (W.Va.) University, an NCAA Division II athletic member. The Twins signed him in August 2017 from an Independent League team in the United Shore Professional Baseball League, based in Michigan.

Since Dobnak rejoined the Blue Wahoos earlier this month, following four starts for the Rochester (N.Y.) Red Wings, the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, he has come back even stronger.

In two starts, he's worked 13.2 innings, allowing just two runs with 12 strikeouts and one walk.

The Blue Wahoos and Jumbo Shrimp will play the third game of their season Saturday night.












This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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