M-Braves hold off Blue Wahoos to split series
PEARL, MS – The Mississippi Braves held off the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Sunday at Blue Wahoos Stadium, 4-3, and earned a series split in the six-game series. The M-Braves are 15-15 through their first 30 games and head to Biloxi for the second half of the road trip.
The pitching matchup was a rematch of game one, where Nolan Kingham and Jake Eder faced off in a 4-3 Wahoos win. The loss for Pensacola (18-12) on Sunday was no fault of Eder as the league’s best pitch so far tossed 5.0 perfect innings before being lifted due to a pitch limit. Eder left with a minor league-best 0.61 ERA and eight strikeouts, retiring all 15 M-Braves batters.
Kingham made one mistake in his outing, which was his first pitch. Peyton Burdick homered off the top of the left-field wall giving the Blue Wahoos a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning.
Kingham wouldn’t give up another run the rest of his outing in which he logged his third quality start, 6.0 innings of one-run baseball, on just three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
The M-Braves pounced on Blue Wahoos reliever Jose Mesa Jr. and scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Riley Unroe started the scoring with an RBI groundout to score Drew Lugbauer, and then Justin Dean smacked his first triple of the season to plate Jalen Miller and give Mississippi the lead. Wendell Rijo followed with a double to score Dean, and it was 3-1 M-Braves (15-15). Rijo was 1-for-4 and extended his team-best hitting streak to seven games.
Pensacola tied the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning against Braves reliever Matt Withrow W, 1-0). After issuing a tough walk, Withrow hit Lorenzo Hampton in the hand with a pitch with one out. Bubba Hollins hit an RBI single, and Devin Hairston brought in a run with a groundout to tie the game.
The tie game didn’t last long as the Braves went back ahead in the next half-inning. Miller led off against former Tampa Bay Ray Andrew Bellatti (L, 0-1) with a walk and was sacrificed to second base by Unroe. A pitch hit Dean to put two runners on base. The pair successfully executed a double steal, and Miller took advantage of an errant throw to score and take a 4-3 advantage. The stolen base for Dean was his league-leading 10th bag.
Daysbel Hernandez (H, 2) pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning with a strikeout to earn his second hold. Brandon White (S, 5) walked the first two batters to begin the bottom of the ninth inning, but he struck out back-to-back Wahoos and got Burdick to ground out, ending the game. White is now 5-for-5 in save opportunities on the season.
The M-Braves will continue their 12-game road trip on Tuesday night at MGM Park in Biloxi. LHP Hayden Deal ( 1-2, 3.97) will start for the Braves in the series opener. The first pitch is 6:35 pm with coverage on 103.9 WYAB, FirstPitch App, and mississippibraves.com.
The M-Braves will return to Trustmark Park on June 15 to begin a 12-game homestand against the Birmingham Barons and Tennessee Smokies. The homestand will feature two great giveaways. On Friday, June 18, the first 1,000 fans will get a Mississippi Braves beach towel, showcasing a panoramic photo of Trustmark Park, presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. The first 1,500 fans on Friday, June 25, will get a Freddie Freeman replica jersey presented by Morgan & Morgan!
For tickets or more information about the M-Braves, visit mississippibraves.com or call 888-BRAVES4.