PENSACOLA, Fla. - Wyatt Strahan (W, 5-4) overcame his Blue Wahoos Stadium woes and delivered a wonderful pitching performance that guided the Wahoos to a 3-2 game and series win.
It looked like an ugly start early for Strahan after Corey Ray pounced on the first pitch of the game with his ninth home run of the season. However, the University of Southern California product composed himself and retired the next three batters in order and escaped further trouble.
Offensively the Wahoos had their starter's back with a swift response. After a leadoff single by C.J. McElroy, Nick Longhi scored McElroy with his eighth double of the season. With two outs in the inning, Luis Gonzalez singled home Longhi and later stole a base and scored on Narciso Crook's first career Double-A RBI. When the dust in the first inning settled the Wahoos led 3-1.
Strahan cruised over the next three innings until he ran into Jake Hager in the fifth. The Shuckers shortstop jumped all over the 1-0 pitch and launched his sixth homer of the year to cut the deficit to 3-2. Again, Strahan rebounded and did not allow a run over his final 1.1 innings.
Jody Davis turned to his bullpen for a large portion of Thursday's finale and once again the bullpen delivered. Victor Payano worked around a bases-loaded jam in the sixth and finished his night with two scoreless innings. Alejandro Chacin replaced Payano with one out in the eighth and finished off the frame with the lead intact. In the ninth, the skipper called upon Alex Powers and the Massachusetts-native finished off the Shuckers in dramatic fashion. With the tying run on second, Tyler Heineman hit a groundball to shortstop that was mishandled by Gonzalez. However, the Wahoos shortstop made a heads-up throw to third base, which caught Trent Grisham well off the bag and stuck in a rundown. After a couple throws, Gonzalez-who made the original error-caught the throw from Cassidy Brown to tag out Grisham and seal the win.
Pensacola will hit the road tomorrow morning towards Pearl, MS for a five-game series against the M-Braves. LHP Seth Varner (2-0, 3.03) will make his third start of the year against former first-round pick Kyle Wright (3-6, 4.37). The upcoming series is the second-to-last series for the Blue Wahoos prior to the All-Star break. Friday's action can be heard on the radio at 97.1 The Ticket, 1490 AM Milton, CST, and www.bluewahoos.com. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
- 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.