Pensacola, FL. - After a promising start to the game, the Blue Wahoos offense never quite found its rhythm. The Wahoos collected three hits in the first inning but didn't get another hit until the sixth.
Randy LeBlanc took the mound for the Lookouts and struggled the find the strike zone right out of the gates. With two outs in the first, Gavin LaValley doubled to right before Gabby Guerrero and Josh VanMeter both drew walks. Aristides Aquino then ripped a single into to left to bring home LaValley, but the Wahoos tried to sneak another run home, but Chris Paul fired a strong throw home to the plate to throw out Guerrero.
Pensacola left the inning feeling cheated they only scored once.
For the Blue Wahoos, Vladimir Gutierrez made his first home start for the Wahoos and once again showed moments of brilliance despite pocketing the loss. A week after allowing a career high in walks, the 23-year old Cuban issued no free passes to the Lookouts over his six innings. Instead, Gutierrez was nicked for three runs after scattering nine hits and striking out four.
Chattanooga broke through in the third inning when Nick Gordon muscled a triple through the teeth of the wind and then scored on Zander Wiel's RBI single. In the fourth, the Lookouts added two more when they strung together a three-hit rally that included a hit batsman.
With two on, Ryan Walker singled home Brent Rooker before Gordon added the second of his two-hit night to score catcher Brian Navaretto and make it a 3-1 Chattanooga lead.
After the first inning, the Blue Wahoos wouldn't record another hit until the sixth inning when LaValley singled to right to lead off the inning. A rally never came to be because the next two hitters flew out and grounded into a double-play, respectively.
Pensacola tried to conjure up some late magic in the eighth inning when Shed Long led off the inning with a single. Alfredo Rodriguez then hit into what appeared to be a fielder's choice, but no Lookouts infielders were covering the bag at second allowing everyone to be safe. LaValley added his third hit of the night to load the bases, setting the stage for Guerrero. Although the Wahoos center fielder didn't disappoint, the fish were snake bitten again by Lookouts defense again.
Guerrero singled to center scoring Long, but Rodriguez was thrown out by LaMonte Wade at the plate to keep the scoreline at 3-2. With the tying run still at second, VanMeter struck out to end the threat.
Chattanooga called on Williams Ramirez to finish off the Wahoos, and despite allowing a leadoff single to Aquino, he retired the next three batters in order to give the Lookouts their first win of the season.
Tomorrow night Jesus Reyes (0-1, 13.50) will try to clinch the series win for the Wahoos against southpaw Lewis Thorpe (0-1, 8.31). Immediately after the game, the Blue Wahoos will light up the night sky with the first fireworks Saturday of the season thanks to Marcus Pointe Baptist Church. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM CT.
- 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.