Myers, Mesa Pace Wahoos in Record Ninth Win in a Row
Birmingham, Ala. - The most successful stretch in Blue Wahoos franchise history now has a special feat attached.
The Blue Wahoos blasted their way to a record ninth consecutive win, led by Victor Mesa Jr. hitting a three-run homer in the seventh inning to break a tie game in Pensacola's eventual 9-3 victory Tuesday night against the Tennessee Smokies at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
A crowd of 3,337 on "Doggone Tuesday" where fans can bring their beloved dogs watched a continuation of the Blue Wahoos' (23-11) scorching streak. This team has now won 17 of its last 18 games with possession of the best record in the Southern League.
"That's the most impressive part," said Blue Wahoos manager Kevin Randel on the three-week success. "I don't think I've been a part of something like this, to be honest. We've had some good runs, but even last year, I don't think we had anything close to this."
The same components of the three-week stretch were on display. The Blue Wahoos got strong pitching, this time from M.D. Johnson's longest start of the season, then Will Stewart and Sean Reynolds in scoreless relief. Reynolds struck out the game's final batter with the bases loaded.
Johnson worked six complete innings, allowing three runs on a pair of homers, but also produced nine strikeouts and zero walks.
They peppered 14 hits against four Smokies pitchers. Dane Myers had five of those hits on a 5-for-5 night with two runs scored. Every Blue Wahoos batter reached base and eight had at least one hit.
And the Blue Wahoos played flawless defense.
"It's a good core group of guys who are grinding every day. The lineup we roll out there is relentless," Randel said. "If the pitching holds up we always have a chance. The guys did a great job with two strikes (Tuesday) and the goal is to just win every at-bat, win every pitch.
"We are on a nice little streak. The 'Hoos are hot. But they're fun to watch."
After scoring their first two runs on errors, the Blue Wahoos tied the game on Will Banfield's solo homer in the sixth inning.
In the decisive seventh inning, Troy Johnson led off with a single and Dane Myers singled. Mesa Jr. following by hitting a 92-mph cutter from Ryan Jensen over the right field wall. The ball just cleared a leaping attempt by right fielder Owen Caissie as the crowd roared.
Jose Devers followed with a single and later scored on Barrett Hostetier's two-out single, finishing a 4-run rally.
Banfield drove in two more runs in the eighth inning with his single.
The game marked the first time the Blue Wahoos faced the Smokies, the Chicago Cubs affiliate, since Pensacola won the Southern League title on September 28 with a decisive Game 3 win in Tennessee.
Johnson's previous three starts in recent weeks were all affected by rain. The past two outings, he was unable to pitch past the second inning. His last start in Birmingham was halted after one complete inning.
But the weather held Tuesday for him to work through six innings.
The teams will continue the series Wednesday night with the Blue Wahoos' top pitcher, lefthander Patrick Monteverde (4-0, 1.22 ERA) going against the Smokies' Walker Powell (2-0, 3.22).
The game is part of "Winning Wednesday" with the debut of Blue Wahoos Bingo at the ballpark and other contests.
First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. with a live broadcast beginning at 6:30 p.m. on BlueWahoos.com, the MiLB First Pitch app (radio), Bally Live and MiLB.tv (video), and WFGX MyTV 35 (local television). For ticket purchases or more information, visit BlueWahoos.com or contact the box office at (850) 934-8444.
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Southern League Stories from May 16, 2023
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- Myers, Mesa Pace Wahoos in Record Ninth Win in a Row - Pensacola Blue Wahoos
- Blue Wahoos Win Tenth Straight in Series Opener - Tennessee Smokies
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