KODAK, Tenn. - Pensacola snapped a 56-inning homerless streak to power past the Smokies 5-1 Thursday night at Smokies Stadium.
Having not homered at all in their previous series against the BayBears, Shed Long homered off Matt Swarmer (L, 5-5) in the top of the seventh inning, which extended the Wahoos lead to 3-1 at the time. After a walk to Gavin LaValley, Taylor Featherston crushed a home run to left center, which put Pensacola up 5-1.
That was plenty of offense for Seth Varner, who turned in a fine bounce-back effort after his most recent outing against Mobile. On Thursday, Varner dealt six innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out four. Carlos Navas does not get credit for the save; however, he pitched the final 2.1 playable innings for the Wahoos in scoreless fashion. With a 2-2 count on Jesse Hodges, the rain came pouring down, and the field was left unplayable. After about a 40-minute delay, the game was declared official.
With the win, Pensacola maintains a half-game lead over the BayBears in the wildcard standings, and with Biloxi's extra-inning win against the Barons, the Wahoos still trail the Shuckers by a half game in the second-half standings.
The series continues Friday night when RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (9-10, 4.50) tries to put his most recent start behind him. He will be opposed by LHP Justin Steele, who is only making his second start of the season with Tennessee, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Friday's game can be heard on the radio at 97.1 The Ticket/1490 AM Milton, and www.bluewahoos.com.
- Pensacola Blue Wahoos -
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos are the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The 2018 season is coming to a close, but single-game playoff tickets are now available. For postseason ticket packages or 2019 season-ticket plans, call (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.