The 22-year-old came to the plate Monday with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning and drilled a ground ball into left field to drive in two runs, giving Pensacola a, 3-1, victory against the Jackson Generals at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
VanMeter's game-winning single drove in second baseman Arismendy Alcantara and right fielder Gabriel Guerrero. Additionally, he is now 3-for-7 or .429 with the bases loaded with 10 RBIs.
Pensacola manager Pat Kelly liked VanMeter's chances at the plate in that situation.
"I can't think of a better guy to come up in that situation," Kelly said. "Even lefty on lefty he got a fastball and pulled it. That was beautiful."
The win was the first in the five-game series against Jackson and its last 10-games at home.
"Everyone dreams of being in that situation," VanMeter said. "Those situations are always fun for sure. We know we're in the playoffs but we're still competing. We ultimately want to win the second half. Hopefully, we can make it five."
Pensacola, which won the first half Southern Division crown, and the Tennessee Smokies are the only two teams in Southern League history to win four halves in a row. Tennessee did it between 2009 and 2011.
With Monday's win, the Blue Wahoos improved to 27-29 in the second half and are 2.5 games out of first place behind the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Jackson fell to 25-31 in the Northern Division.
Pensacola right fielder Gabriel Guerrero crushed a bomb to left field to put the Blue Wahoos on the scoreboard first in the third inning, 1-0. It was his sixth homer this season. Plus, Guerrero went 2-2 with two walks and two runs scored for his 39th multi-hit game of the season.
Jackson tied the score, 1-1, when left fielder Jamie Westbrook, who walked to lead off the fifth inning, scored on a Vladimir Frias sacrifice fly to center field. With two outs, Jackson starting pitcher Joel Payamps hit a long fly ball to the warning track in the right center gap that Pensacola's Guerrero chased down to prevent Generals right fielder Kelly Dugan from scoring from second.
Meanwhile, in his last five starts, Deck McGuire has chased his career-high 10 wins. But the seven-year minor league veteran left after seven innings Monday with the game tied, 1-1. His record remained stuck at 9-8 with a Southern League leading 2.63 ERA.
"It doesn't matter as long as we win the game I don't care who gets the win," McGuire said.
The 2010 first round draft pick allowed one run on five hits, walked one and struck out six.
This season, McGuire also leads the Southern League in innings pitched with 157.1, is tied for first with 155 strikeouts and second with opponents batting .207 against him. It has led to a resurgence in his professional career.
"The biggest thing for me is being more consistent," McGuire said. "I'm having a lot of fun. Hopefully, I'll be in the big leagues one day."
It also consoles Kelly to know McGuire will pitch every fifth day in Pensacola's rotation.
"We know every fifth day he's a guy who is going to get a ton of innings for you," Kelly said. "He's going to have 27 or 28 starts for us and he has taken advantage of it."
Pensacola reliever Carlos Gonzalez got the last three outs for his fifth save in seven opportunities. In his previous three games, he was 0-1 pitching 2.1 innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks and striking out one.
Jackson starting pitcher Joel Payamps worked six innings and allowed one run on four hits and two walks and struck out five.
GAME NOTES The Pensacola Blue Wahoos host the second game of a five-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks Double-A affiliate Jackson Generals at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday. The Generals are starting RHP Brad Keller (8-9, 5.30) against the Blue Wahoos RHP Keury Mella (3-10, 4.77).
The games are broadcast live on the Blue Wahoos flagship station 97.1 The Ticket. Listen for free at bluewahoos.com and by using the TuneIn Radio app on your mobile, desktop or home devices.
You can watch the home games live or tape delayed on Cox Sports Television Monday through Thursday on Channel 319. Friday, Saturday and Sunday games are broadcast live on BLAB-TV.
BIG FISH Left fielder Josh VanMeter smacked a game-winning single that drove in two runs...Right fielder Gabriel Guerrero smacked his sixth homer of the season and was 2-2 for his 39th multi-hit game...Catcher Joe Hudson was 1-3 with his 12th double of the year and gunned down one base stealer in two attempts and has caught 22 runners in 49 attempts this year... Center fielder Jonathan Reynoso was 2-3.
Tickets to the 2017 playoffs are now on sale! Purchase tickets online at bluewahoos.com, visiting the Box Office or calling 850-934-8444. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the Southern League. Follow the Pensacola 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.