Press Release from Mississippi Braves
A bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth sent the Pensacola Blue Wahoos to a wild 6-5 win over the Mississippi Braves, opening the Southern League South Division Series at Blue Wahoos Stadium Wednesday night.
The two teams combined to blow four saves, and Mississippi made three late errors that gave Pensacola four unearned runs down the stretch.
The Braves trailed 4-3 in the top of the ninth, but took a 5-4 lead on a big swing by Stephen Gaylor. With two on and two out, Gaylor knocked a pinch-hit RBI single against All-Star closer Alejandro Chacin (1-0) to tie the game. Brandon Dixon threw the ball wildly back to the infield, allowing a second run, the go-ahead, to score.
But in the bottom of the ninth, the Blue Wahoos loaded the bases against Caleb Dirks (0-1), and Ray Chang tied the game 5-5 with an RBI single. Two batters later, Dirks walked catcher Joe Hudson on four pitches to force in the winning run, and Pensacola grabbed the early edge in the best-of-five series.
The walk ended a back-and-forth game that saw five lead changes and nine walks by M-Braves pitching. Sean Newcomb took a no-decision, allowing a run on two hits and six walks over five innings, striking out six.
Wahoos starter Rookie Davis also took a no-decision, allowing a run on three hits over six frames. He struck out eight and walked one in the postseason opener.
The Braves took the lead in the fourth on a Carlos Franco RBI double to plate Dustin Peterson from first. Pensacola tied it in the bottom of the fourth on a Chang RBI knock.
The Blue Wahoos broke the tie in the sixth when Zach Vincej doubled for the second time and scored on a Taylor Sparks single, making it 2-1.
In the 7th, Mississippi hopped back in front. With two on and two out, Johan Camargo hit a two-run triple down the right field line for a 3-2 edge.
But Pensacola had an answer in the bottom of the 7th due to back-to-back defensive blunders. Chad Sobotka walked Ronald Bueno to start the inning, and Alex Blandino reached on an error by Franco at third to put runners at the corners. Phillip Ervin singled to left, to tie the game 3-3, and Dustin Peterson misplayed the ball in left. It rolled to the warning track, and Blandino scored for a 4-3 Wahoos lead, setting up the thrilling final frame.
The Braves try to even the series on Thursday night at Blue Wahoos Stadium, with first pitch slated for 6:30 PM CT. Right-hander Patrick Weigel (1-2, 2.18) takes the ball for the Braves against Blue Wahoos right-hander Jackson Stephens (8-11, 3.33).
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