The Birmingham Barons hosted the Pensacola Blue Wahoos this week for a six-game home stand. The Barons visited Florida earlier in the season and won the series 4-2. The Blue Wahoos came into this series red-hot and ready to make the Barons know that. Pensacola capped off the series sweep with a 6-5 and a 9-7 victory over the Barons.
Birmingham extends their winless streak to nine games and is still 7.0 games out of first place in the Southern League North. The Barons are 11-22, which is the worst record in all of the Southern League.
Despite the struggles that the Barons faced, they at-least have two play makers to give them hope to dig themselves out of last place in Taylor Snyder and Chris Shaw. It may seem like the two of them have been highlighted a lot throughout this series, and that is for good reason as they were the Barons that contributed the most throughout the week.
Snyder, the Barons series spotlight player, finished his week 5-13 accounting for five runs, two home runs and four RBI. The 28 year-old capped off his stellar week in Game 5 going 2-4 with a run, home run and two RBI. His production came only in four of six games played this past week, which displays his efficiency when given the opportunity to succeed.
Shaw appeared in five of six games where he went 4-19 accounting for five runs, a double, two home runs and five RBI. The 29 year-old played the final two games of the series with his best of the two games coming in Game 6. Shaw, in Sunday’s affair, finished 1-4 accounting for two runs, a home run and a RBI.
The Barons were able to keep the final two games of the series close with the aid of Snyder and Shaw. However there were more than just the pair of Barons that made the games closer affairs.
Take a deeper look into the games that wrapped up the Barons second series with the Blue Wahoos.
Saturday, May 13th
The Barons were not wanting to fall into a hole like they have this whole series. The objective was put into action by Snyder in the bottom of the second inning with a two-run bomb that gave them the early lead. However, the lead was not held for too long as the Blue Wahoos knotted the ball game with a two-run top of the third.
The two foes were ready for another nine-round bout, and Pensacola landed a left hook on Birmingham in a three-run home run in the top of the fifth. The Blue Wahoos put themselves up by three from the left-handed center-fielder Victor Mesa Jr., who has been a pain for the home team all series.
The Barons starting LHP Garrett Schoenle was the guilty party that gave up the three-run shot, ending his night with 4.2 IP. Schoenle allowed five hits, five earned runs, four walks and two strikeouts in his night on the bump. The southpaw had been having a stellar night up until the home run, ending his night earlier than anticipated.
LHP Andrew Perez was the Baron called from the pen to assist Schoenle in finishing the fifth. Perez was able to escape the inning with no further damage done, however in the sixth inning the Blue Wahoos were able to get one by him.
Pensacola tacked on a crucial insurance run on an RBI double in the top of the sixth inning. That one run would end up being the deciding factor in the ball game. However, the Barons were not going to go down without getting their last punches in.
Birmingham brought the game to within one run from a pair of singles from Shaw and Alsander Womack, scoring two runs with only one out. Tyler Neslony sent home the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to deep center-field and inched the Barons one run shy of a comeback.
The Barons pitching does their job with Ellard and Freeman shutting out the Blue Wahoos for the rest of the contest, however the Barons can’t give anything in return from the plate.
Despite the early offense from the Barons, it was the lack of it at the end of the game that led to the defeat.
Sunday, May 14th
The Barons started the series finale in a similar fashion as Saturday’s affair, scoring early in the game to set the tone.
Birmingham would again hit a two-run home run to kick off the scoring, however this time it came off the bat of catcher Adam Hackenberg. Hackenberg delivered his shot over the left-field wall, getting the almost 3,000 fans on their feet. The boost of energy from the early lead carried throughout the king and got into the Blue Wahoos head three batters later.
Pensacola’s pitcher would deliver a ball off target, and wild enough to score a runner from third for the Barons. Birmingham would enjoy the lead for two more innings until the Blue Wahoos were down wading.
The Blue Wahoos had held scoreless until the fifth inning by starting LHP Garrett Davila, and once he started to allow them to sneak into the game, they took advantage of it.
Pensacola scored on a single and would continue with another three-run home run from Mesa Jr. After the four earned runs, Davila was pulled from his 4.2 IP appearance in which he allowed five hits, four walks, one home run and struck out four. In relief for the southpaw, right-handed Yoelvin Silven took over the bump. Silven was sent into the game while the Blue Wahoos were already on a roll, and he was not able to stop them. The 23 year-old on the first pitch of his appearance was taken deep to add another run onto the away team's lead.
The Blue Wahoos made a statement with their five run fifth, yet that did not stop the Barons from fighting their way back. In the bottom of the sixth inning Shaw delivered his second home run of the series, and more importantly gave the Barons some confidence that they were not out of the game. With the confidence boost, Moises Castillo singled to deliver the tying run across home plate in the bottom of the sixth.
The Barons knotted the game and were ready to protect the tie in the top of the seventh, Pensacola had other plans. After a tough start to the inning in which a close play did not go in Birmingham favor, the Blue Wahoos found a way to tack three runs in the inning.
Birmingham worked two pitchers in the inning to try and halt the opposition from adding too many runs onto the lead in Gil Luna and Hunter Dollander. The latter was able to escape the inning, while Luna was charged with the three runs.
The Barons were faced with another deficit to try and come back from, this time they fell short by one run. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Tyler Neslony got things going for the home side with a single and was followed up by another single to place him at third-base.
Neslony, who leads the team in steals, is always looking for a chance to run on the base paths. The Texan got one as a wild pitch got past the Blue Wahoos and allowed for him to race to the plate to score. The other run in the inning would come from an RBI double from Hackenberg, his third RBI of the game and second extra base hit.
Dollander would shut out Pensacola in the eighth inning to cap off his 1.2 IP and extend the Barons chances at a comeback one more inning. The right-hander finished the day with zero hits, zero earned runs, two walks and a strikeout.
Birmingham squandered their last two opportunities at the plate, while Pensacola was able to tally an insurance run to close out the game.