Catcher Kyle Skipworth drove in a pair of runs to lead the Suns past the Blue Wahoos 6-1. Jacksonville improved to 14-10 this season against Pensacola to clinch the season series. Photo Courtesy: Jacksonville Suns
By Steve Kolbe
The Jacksonville Suns scored three times in the first inning and cruised to a 6-1 win over the Blue Wahoos on Saturday night at Bayfront Stadium. The Suns improved to 14-10 overall (8-3 on the road) against the Blue Wahoos, and clinched the season series.
The Suns jumped out to the lead in the first inning against Wahoos starter Kyle Lotzkar. Jake Smolinski was hit by a pitch and Chris Gutierrez walked. With one out, Curt Smith hit a ground ball to shortstop Billy Hamilton who committed an error, with Smolinski scoring from second to put the Suns up 1-0. Kyle Skipworth then drove in two runs with a double to left-center field to increase the lead to 3-0.
The Blue Wahoos scored their lone run in the third inning. Billy Hamilton walked, stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error. Josh Fellhauer then drove in Hamilton with a RBI single to cut the Suns lead to 3-1.
Jacksonville loaded the bases in the fifth inning with no outs, when Chris Gutierrez and Curt Smith were each hit by a pitch and Paul Gran singled. Kyle Jensen singled to center with Gran scoring on the play for a 4-1 Suns advantage. Jensen leads the Suns with 44 runs batted in this season. Shawn Bowman then drove in his 43rd run of the season with a ground out to make the score 5-1.
Jake Smolinski walked to lead of the sixth inning and went to third when Gutierrez singled. Paul Gran drove in the final run of the game when he grounded into a double play, with Smolinski scoring and the Suns led 6-1. Four of the Suns six runs in the game were scored by base runners that had walked, were hit by a pitch, or reached on an error.
Kyle Skipworth went 1-for-2 with two RBI’s and had the only extra base hit for the Suns. Miguel Rojas and Bryson Smith each had two hits for the Blue Wahoos.
Bryan Evans (3-6) allowed one run on six hits in five and a-third innings to earn his first win against Pensacola this season. Jordan Conley and Josh Schmidt combined to pitch three and two-thirds scoreless innings. Kyle Lotzkar (4-4) surrendered five runs on just two hits in the loss. He hit three batters and walked four.
The Suns have won the season series against the Blue Wahoos to claim the first I-10 Panhandle Series, and will bring the “Golden Skillet” back to the Baseball Grounds. Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST.