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PNS 8, BLX 9; Wahoos blow 5-run lead to lose it

Pensacola Blue Wahoos outfielder Griffin Conine smiles and gives a thumbs up Courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos

The Marlins big league club finished their game early on Sunday, allowing us to give our undivided attention to minor league action at night. The Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos (35-28) faced the Biloxi Shuckers (33-33) for the week’s final game.

The Wahoos offense got it going right away in the first inning with a Griffin Conine home run to left-center. That was Conine’s 12th homer, which gave the Wahoos a 1-0 lead.

The Shuckers offense matched them in the bottom of the first as Joey Wiemer singled, Thomas Dillard singled, and with 2 outs, Jakson Reetz singled on a fly ball to right field that scored their first run of the game.

The Wahoos responded right back in the second inning. Center fielder Thomas Jones was hit by a pitch and after a throwing error by Jason López, Jones went to second. Norel González stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI double to drive in Jones and retake the lead, 2-1.

Then, Bubba Hollins singled and J.D. Orr walked. The 9th hitter in Pensacola’s lineup, Devin Hairston, hit an RBI single to extend the lead, and the next hitter, José Devers smacked a fly ball deep enough for a sacrifice fly to drive in Orr. That put the Wahoos up 4-1.

In the bottom of the third inning, Felix Valerio earned himself a walk and stole a base right after that to put himself in scoring position. Thomas Dillard hit an RBI single to drive in Valerio and add another run to the board, making it 4-2.

Again, the Wahoos’ bats got to work. Hairston singled, Devers singled, and the stage was set for Griffin Conine. His second home run on the day went more than 400 feet to center field and extended the lead to 7-2. It gave Mr. Marlin’s son his first multi-homer game of the season (he’s gone deep 13 times overall).

Shuckers starting pitcher Noah Zavolas completed the fourth inning, but that would be it for him. It was not a good night for the 26-year-old right-hander.

Noah Zavolas Final Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR, 21 BF, 6.34 ERA

In the bottom of the fifth, Thomas Dillard and Jakson Reetz drew walks, then Cam Devanney stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI double to score Dillard. Troy Johnston—who has been recently taking reps in left field—almost made a spectacular catch to steal a big hit, but wasn’t quite able to make that happen. The Wahoos still led 7-3.

Pensacola answered back in the sixth. J.D. Orr was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and later stole second. He advanced an extra 90 feet thanks to a throwing error on his steal attempt. José Devers followed with an RBI single. It’s been a rough season for Devers, but he had himself a productive game with 2 hits and a pair of RBIs.

Wahoos starter Cody Mincey put a lot of traffic on the bases during his 5 innings of work (including 2 hit batters). He relied on his defense to keep his pitch count in decent shape.

Cody Mincey Final Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 1 SO, 25 BF, 5.30 ERA

Although the Shuckers were down 8-3, the team kept fighting. Andrew McInvale pitched an easy inning in the 6th, but the following inning became madness.

Thomas Dillard reached base on an error and Jakson Reetz delivered an RBI double—that was the second RBI of the day for Reetz. The Shuckers were able to score 2 more runs from a Yeison Coca single. He was caught out in a rundown to end the rally, but Biloxi had trimmed the deficit to 8-6. All of that happened with Aneurys Zabala on the mound.

Jefry Yan got the call for the ninth inning, looking for his first save with the Marlins organization. The Shuckers had other plans. They loaded the bases, and with 2 outs, Jason López hit a game-winning, bases-clearing double to win the game walk-off style.

It was one of the most shocking losses of the season for the Wahoos. They lost the 6-game series, 4-2.

Next up, they will return to Pensacola to host the Montgomery Biscuits starting on Tuesday.