September 1, 2017 - Southern League (SL) - Jackson Generals
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp broke a 2-2 tie with three eighth-inning runs on the way to a 5-2 win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos that secured a Southern League South Division second-half title - Jacksonville's first playoff berth since 2014 - in front of 4,609 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Thursday night.
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The Blue Wahoos (31-35 second half, 71-65 overall) opened the scoring in the first inning against Jumbo Shrimp right-hander Chris Mazza. Second baseman Shed Long hit a leadoff double off the glove of first baseman Taylor Ard and scored on first baseman Gavin LaValley's RBI single to left field. Jacksonville (38-28, 68-68) tied the game in the bottom of the first inning against Blue Wahoos right-hander Deck McGuire. Center fielder Braxton Lee hit a leadoff single to center field, went to second base on a balk and scored on third baseman David Vidal's RBI single to center field.
McGuire retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced. The exception was right fielder John Norwood, who led off the fourth inning with his 19th home run of the season to the left-field berm. McGuire finished six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts. Pensacola tied the game in the fifth inning on left fielder Gabriel Guerrero's sacrifice fly. Mazza allowed two earned runs on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
Jacksonville left-hander Miguel Del Pozo (1-0) kept the 2-2 tie for 1 2/3 innings through the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, right-hander Alex Powers (1-4) hit Ard, and shortstop Cleuluis Rondon sacrificed him to second base. With two outs, Lee was intentionally walked. Left fielder Austin Dean lined the go-ahead single to center field, and Norwood's two-run triple made it 5-2. Right-hander Esmerling De La Rosa worked a scoreless ninth inning for his third save.
UP NEXT: The Jumbo Shrimp continue their final regular season series with Pensacola at 7:05 p.m. Friday, when Jacksonville left-hander Matt Tomshaw (12-6) is scheduled to face Blue Wahoos right-hander Jose Lopez (7-1). Fans may visit any participating NAPA AutoCare Center to get a FREE general admission ticket for the game, which will be followed by NAPA AutoCare Family Fireworks. The Jumbo Shrimp will wear red "Bold City" jerseys on Red Shirt Friday, and fans who wear red can save $1 per ticket at the box office, or donate the $1 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. for Miller Lite Happy Hour, presented in part by Wild Wing Café, with Miller Lite beer specials in the Craft Cave inside the third-base gate until 7:30 p.m. Sgt. Scampi, from local nonprofit K9s For Warriors, will again be the bat dog for an inning. The game is also presented by WEJZ Lite 96.1.