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Dobnak's Big Effort not Enough to Shake Blue Wahoos' Funk

July 18, 2019 - Southern League (SL) - Pensacola Blue Wahoos News Release

Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher Randy Dobnak
Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher Randy Dobnak
(Pensacola Blue Wahoos)

One of the top pitching performances in club history Thursday night was unfortunately not enough to shake the Blue Wahoos from current doldrums.

Randy Dobnak continued his remarkable season, along with his potential future, by working eight innings, allowing just two hits, one run and matching a career-high with nine strikeouts, but became a hard-luck recipient of the Blue Wahoos 1-0 loss against the Mississippi Braves to start a road series in Pearl, Miss.

In part, the reason was M-Braves lefty starter Tucker Davidson, a Southern League All-Star and No. 18 overall prospect in the Atlanta Braves system, was equally masterful. Davidson also went eight complete innings with nine strikeouts, scattered five hits and did not walk a batter.

This sensational arms race led to a game completed in just one hour, 54 minutes Thursday before a crowd of 2,218 at Trustmark Park. It was the seventh time in Dobnak's last nine starts that he has allowed just one or zero earned runs.

The loss became the Blue Wahoos' 11th in the past 13 games. They are now just one game above .500 overall (49-48) and fell to 11-16 in the second half. They will try and reverse the trend beginning Friday in the second game of a four-game weekend series.

Rarely in minor league baseball does a game feature both starting pitchers going eight complete innings. Dobnak (4-2) threw 90 pitches and got 12 ground ball outs. Davidson stayed in the game with 97 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In what has typified the Blue Wahoos' recent downfall, they had runners in scoring position in each of the final three innings, but couldn't get a game-tying hit. They finished with seven hits in the game, all singles.

In the ninth inning, former major league infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr. led off with a single against reliever Jordan Harrison. Alex Kirilloff then hit into a force play at second base.

Trevor Larnach, who joined the team Tuesday in promotion from High-A Fort Myers, followed with a one-out single. Lewin Diaz worked a 2-2 count, fouled off a pitch, then hit a hard grounder that shortstop Ray-Patrick Didder converted into a game-ending double play.

In the eighth inning, the Blue Wahoos' Mark Contreras led off with a single. He moved to second on Brian Navaretto's sacrifice bunt. But Davidson retired Aaron Whitefield on a fly ball to center, then struck out Jordan Gore to end the threat.

In the seventh, Kirilloff had a one-out single, Larnach hit into a force play, but Diaz followed with a single. Again, Davidson worked out of it by getting Caleb Hamilton to pop out.

Those three innings were the Blue Wahoos' best scoring opportunities. The other was in the first inning when Kirilloff, who went 2-for-4, hit a one-out single. Larnach followed by hitting into a double play.

The game's only run was scored in the fifth inning. Greyson Jenista led off with a double against Dobnak. Carlos Martinez followed with a one-out, RBI single, but was erased on the cutoff throw by Diaz to De Jesus at second.

Dobnak, who was pitching in a Michigan-based Independent League two years ago, retired the M-Braves in order the next three innings.

The M-Braves (44-52, 11-16) entered the game with four consecutive series' losses. They lost four of six games against Jacksonville, a team now just one game back of Biloxi in the second-half division race.

Images from this story

Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher Randy Dobnak
Pensacola Blue Wahoos pitcher Randy Dobnak


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Southern League Stories from July 18, 2019

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