Anderson, Mississippi Keep Blue Wahoos Skidding
The Blue Wahoos knew there might be few scoring chances Friday if Mississippi Braves' ace Ian Anderson was on top of his game.
When they missed on early opportunities, it became costly again at the end.
The Blue Wahoos' bats remained in a slumber and their record continued its slide after a 4-2 loss against the M-Braves at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.
Anderson, the No. 3 ranked player by MLB Pipeline in the Atlanta Braves system, struck out 10 Pensacola hitters to improve his season strikeout total to 129. That leads the Southern League and ranks fourth in all of minor league baseball.
For the Blue Wahoos, this is the first time since the first game of the season their overall record (49-49) is even at .500. They fell into last place (11-17) in the Southern League South Division second-half standings, after losing for the 12th time in 14 games.
On July 3, the Blue Wahoos swept a four-game series at home against the M-Braves for a sixth consecutive win. Friday, they were saddled with a seventh loss in eight games.
The same issue has been the culprit. It's been a week since they have scored more than two runs in any game.
But before Anderson settled into a seven-inning masterpiece, the Blue Wahoos had a couple chances. They had a runner on base with less than two outs in three of the first four innings.
In the first, leadoff batter Ivan De Jesus Jr. singled. But Anderson got Alex Kirilloff to hit into a double-play and struck out Trevor Larnarch.
In the second inning, the Blue Wahoos got their first run when loading the bases with one out. Lewin Diaz was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Mark Contreras, who went 2-for-4 as the Blue Wahoos only player with multiple hits, followed with a single.
Joe Cronin then singled to load the bases. Diaz scored on Aaron Whitefield's force out. With runners on second and third, Jordan Gore grounded out to end the inning.
In the fourth inning, Ben Rortvedt had a one out single, but Anderson struck out Contreras and Cronin. The next three innings, the Blue Wahoos had only one baserunner against Anderson, who improved to 7-5, after allowing just five hits, no walks to go along with his 10 strikeouts.
The Blue Wahoos again got their own solid starting pitching. Charlie Barnes worked into the fifth inning, allowing just three hits, one run and struck out six. He had just one walk.
Tom Hackimer, pitching for the first time since June 26, entered in relief and worked 1.2 scoreless innings. In the seventh, however, Adam Bray began the inning and had his roughest relief appearance.
The first three M-Braves batters reached base. William Contreras' double scored two runs and gave the M-Braves a 3-1 lead. Trey Harris hit a one-out double to score Contreras.
That was the game. The M-Braves' Claudio Custodio entered in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to Gore. Larnach's two-out single scored Gore, then Lewis struck out to end the inning.
Jordan Harrison retired the Blue Wahoos in order in the ninth to get his second save.
The two teams will play again Saturday night in the third game of their weekend series.
Images from this story
Mark Contreras of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos signs the shirt of a young fan
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