Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran struck out 10 to lead Pensacola to a 9-2 win over Jacksonville June 5, 2012 at Bayfront Stadium. Photo Courtesy: Pensacola Blue Wahoos
By Steve Kolbe
After a brief weather delay, the Jacksonville Suns started slow and never recovered in a 9-2 loss to the Blue Wahoos on Tuesday night at Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola. The two teams are once again tied for third place in the South Division with identical 27-32 records.
The Blue Wahoos went right to work against Suns starter Graham Taylor in the first inning. For the fans who were late to their seats, they missed leadoff hitter Ryan LaMarre blast his second round-tripper of the season to put Pensacola in front 1-0. Didi Gregorius then doubled to left, and came around to score on Brodie Greene’s RBI single to give the Blue Wahoos a 2-0 lead. It’s the second straight game that Pensacola has scored two runs in the first inning.
Taylor settled down for the next two innings and was helped out by the double play ball, but he ran into more trouble in the home half of the fourth. Joel Guzman and David Vidal hit back-to-back singles to left field to start the inning. With one out, Andrew Means drove in both runners with a single, with Vidal scoring on an error, and the Blue Wahoos had doubled their lead to 4-0.
Pensacola catcher Chris Berset keep the rally going with another single to left to put runners on first and third with only one out. Blue Wahoos starting pitcher J.C. Sulbaran helped his own cause with a sacrifice bunt, with Means scoring on the play to make the score 5-0. The inning finally ended when LaMarre was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, but not before Berset crossed the plate to pad the lead to 6-0 in favor of Pensacola. In the inning, the Blue Wahoos scored four runs on five singles.
Jacksonville brought in reliever Zach Neal to start the fifth inning, and he was greeted by an infield single by Didi Gregorius, who then moved to second base on a throwing error. Brodie Green drove in his second run of the night when he tripled into the gap in left-center, with Gregorius scoring for a 7-0 advantage. Later in the inning, David Vidal’s sacrifice fly pushed Greene across the pate and the scoreboard read 8-0.
The Suns scored their only two runs of the night in the seventh against J.C. Sulbaran. Kyle Jensen led off the inning with a walk, and scored when Ryan Patterson drove in his 10th run of the season with a double down the left field line. With two outs, Donnie Webb doubled for his 15th run batted in on the year, with Patterson scoring to make the score 8-2.
Pensacola tacked on another run in the eighth inning on a RBI ground out by Chris Berset, and the Blue Wahoos had a 9-2 win. It’s the sixth time this season that the Suns have allowed eight runs or more, with the Blue Wahoos accomplishing the feat three times. Pensacola has won consecutive games for the first time in over two weeks, last winning two contests in a row in Jacksonville May 18-19.
It’s the third time this season that the Blue Wahoos have scored nine or more runs in a game, they also had a 9-3 win over the Suns April 26th at the Baseball Grounds. The seven run win is the second largest margin over victory that Pensacola has had in a game this season, second only to an 8-0 win over Birmingham May 12th at Bayfront Stadium.
Suns pitcher Graham Taylor had his shortest outing since his first start of the season, when he allowed six runs in four innings against Chattanooga. Taylor surrendered six runs (5 ER) on ten hits in his four innings of work on Tuesday and fell to 3-5 on the season. Zach Neal came out of the bullpen, allowing three runs on four hits in the final four innings of the game.
Blue Wahoos starter J.C. Sulbaran allowed two runs on seven hits over six and a-third innings to improve his record to 4-4. Sulbaran struck out 10 Suns batters to earn his first win over Jacksonville this season in four starts. Relievers Wilkin De La Rose and Clayton Tanner finished the job, allowing just one hit in the final three innings. Pensacola pitchers fanned 14 Suns batters on Tuesday, and in the series Blue Wahoos hurlers have 49 strike outs in four games.
For the Suns, Donnie Webb and Jeff Dominguez each finished with two hits, with Webb driving in his 15th run of the season. Ryan Patterson, Curt Smith, Kyle Jensen, and Kyle Skipworth each had one hit. The Blue Wahoos collected 14 hits. Five players had multi-hit efforts and seven players scored at least one run for Pensacola. David Vidal finished 3-for-3, drove in a run, and scored twice. Andrew Means went 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. Ryan LaMarre and Brodie Greene each had two hits and two RBI. Didi Gregorius added a pair of hits to extend his hit streak to eight games. It’s his second streak of at least eight games this season.
The rubber match of the series is Wednesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:00 p.m. from Bayfront Stadium in Pensacola. RHP Matthew Neil (0-0, 5.49) will start his fourth game of the season for the Suns. RHP Daniel Corcino (2-3, 3.79) is set to take the mound for the Blue Wahoos.