Graterol, Pen Lead Wahoos To Shutout Win

Twins top pitching prospect allows just 3 hits over 5.0 IP

Brusdar Graterol improved to a league-best 5-0 record and lowered his ERA to 1.69 on Tuesday evening. (Daniel Venn)

By Bill Vilona, Senior Writer / Pensacola Blue Wahoos | May 15, 2019 12:50 AM

Since the season began, Pensacola Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego has touted his team's fighting spirit.

It rang true in a significant way Tuesday night, after the Blue Wahoos followed their most disparaging loss with a gratifying 3-0 victory against the Chattanooga Lookouts, evening the series at AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Brusdar Graterol (5-0), the Minnesota Twins' top-ranked pitching prospect, produced another superb outing with five scoreless innings and the bullpen was rock solid behind him. It occurred a night after the Blue Wahoos missed a chance for a doubleheader sweep when losing a 4-0 lead in the final, seventh inning, of the second game, then losing 5-4 in ninth.

This time, Tom Hackimer, who joined the team last week from Advanced-A Fort Myers, tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Graterol and closer Cody Stashak earned his third save with two hitless innings to seal the win.

The Blue Wahoos (25-14) will attempt to continue their unbeaten series streak on Wednesday in the deciding game at 10:15 a.m. (CDT) in a matinee, "Business Person Special" that will end a 10-game road trip. They have won all seven series so far this season.

The Blue Wahoos will travel back to Pensacola following the game to ready for a five-game homestand against Mobile, which begins Thursday.

Earlier Tuesday, the Blue Wahoos learned second baseman Luis Arraez, the leading hitter in the Southern League, had been promoted to Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. But they managed 10 hits in his absence.

Tuesday's game was scoreless until the Blue Wahoos punched across a run in the fifth inning. Joe Cronin led off by reaching on an error. Mark Contreras followed with an RBI double.

The score stayed that way until the eighth inning. Both teams stranded base runners the next two innings. For the game, the Blue Wahoos left 11 runners on base.

But the Blue Wahoos were able to finally break through after loading the bases with none out. Travis Blankenhorn and Jaylin Davis began the rally with singles. Taylor Grzelakowski walked. After a pitching change, Mitchell Kranson grounded out to second, scoring Blakenhorn.

Catcher Ben Rortvedt, who joined the team earlier Tuesday from Fort Myers, was intentionally walked to load the bases again. Cronin delivered again, this time with a sacrifice fly to score Davis.

In the bottom of the eighth, Stashak struck out the final two batters. In the ninth, he again retired the Lookouts (21-16) in order.

The series has featured a matchup of two teams who swapped affiliations last year. The Blue Wahoos have 13 players who were in Chattanooga last season. Lookouts manager Pat Kelly, managed the Blue Wahoos for three seasons (2015-17) when they were the Cincinnati Reds affiliate.

Contreras, Davis, and Blankenhorn each had two hits in the game. Blue Wahoos pitchers issued just two walks and had seven strikeouts.

The Blue Wahoos will begin their homestand with a Thirsty Thursday night of drink specials. It will also be the popular "Bark In The Park" night where fans can bring their dogs to the ballpark.

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

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