The Birmingham Barons dropped the past two games to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 8-6 and 7-5, respectively. The Barons now drop to 11-18 on the season, and 6.0 games back from first in the Southern League North Division.
In the pair of losses, the Barons kept the games close, despite only leading for 1-out-18 innings. Birmingham was not able to capitalize on two stellar performances from Alsander Womack and Ben Norman.
Womack finished Game 1 3-3 accounting for one run, a home run and two RBI. The 24 year-olds home run came in the bottom of the third inning with a runner on to give the Barons the lead.
Norman’s Wednesday afternoon performance was something for the record book, hitting the first grand slam by a Baron since Craig Dedelow last season. The 25 year-old finished the day 1-4 accounting for a run, a home run and four RBI.
In a quick glimpse, that is what the past two games looked like for the Barons. For a more in-depth version here are Tuesday and Wednesday losses for Birmingham.
Tuesday, May 9th
In the 4-2, Game 1, loss for the Birmingham Barons the offense was only able to muster up one inning of success, while the Blue Wahoos only needed two to cement the victory.
The Blue Wahoos jumped on the scoreboard first with a RBI single for the 1-0 lead.
The Barons offense was not able to amount to much in the first two innings of the affair, being sat down in seven batters to start the game. Birmingham may not have been able to get after the opposition's starter, however in the third it took only two batters to capture the lead.
In the bottom of the third inning the Barons faced two-outs with one runner on, and Womack up to bat. Womack singled in the first and improved upon that with a two-run home run to take the lead.
Birmingham’s offense only needed one swing of the bat to take the lead, however that was the only at-bat that aided a runner across the plate. The lack of offense for the Barons didn’t affect them until Pensacola mustered up a three run fourth inning.
The Blue Wahoos collected their runs from a RBI Double and a two-RBI single. Barons starting LHP Garrett Davila was the guilty party to allow the four runs up to the fourth, however the lefty limited the damage that could have come from the explosive Blue Wahoo offense.
Davila finished his 4.0 IP appearance with six hits, four earned runs and two strikeouts.
The six runs scored in the first inning were all we were going to see all night, as the two teams shut each other out for the next five innings.
The Barons capped off the game with four total pitchers who combined for three strikeouts, two hits and two walks. The relief pitchers for the Barons were RHP Nick Gallagher, RHP Vince Vannelle, LHP Gil Luna and RHP Yoelvin Silven.
All were efficient in their respective innings, however Gallagher was efficient for the longest period of time. The Iowa native finished his time on the bump with 2.0 IP, one hit, zero earned runs and a strikeout in his eight batters faced.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with the Barons facing their potential last opportunity to muster any more offense, it did not last very long. Birmingham in four batters was sat down by the Pensacola closer.
Wednesday, May 10th
In the game prior the Barons were able to muster some offense in the first couple of innings, that was not the case in Game 2. Birmingham was held scoreless until the sixth inning and even with an explosive seventh inning, The Barons were not able to hold off the Blue Wahoos for nine innings. Pensacola capped off the game with an insurance run in the ninth inning to seal their 7-5 victory.
For the second game in a-row the Barons let the opposition jump on the scoreboard first. The Blue Wahoos reeled in three runs in the top of the third inning for the early lead.
In the inning, Barons starter RHP Cristian Mena was not able to finish the inning, making LHP Andrew Perez come in for the final out. Mena would finish his night with 2.2 IP, four hits, three earned runs and four strikeouts. A very uncharacteristic start for the youngster, who has been red-hot coming into the day game.
Perez fought through the adversity that he was thrown into and continued with a stellar outing. The left-hander finished his 2.1 IP outing giving up zero hits, zero earned runs and striking out two.
The Barons may have been down on the scoreboard, but it seemed as if something was brewing for the home team. Unfortunately, Birmingham’s explosive inning came after another three run inning for the Blue Wahoos.
In his Barons 2023 debut LHP Fraser Ellard was only able to go 0.2 IP giving up one hit, three earned runs and striking out two. RHP Caleb Freeman finished off the inning, limiting the damage on the scoreboard and striking out a lone batter.
Birmingham now sitting down six runs needed something, if they wanted a chance at a comeback.
Shortstop Jose Rodriguez got them one run with a weak grounder that scored third-baseman Taylor Snyder in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Barons got on the board, yet still had a long way to go to get back into this game.
RHP Hunter Dollander was called upon for his 3.0 innings of work, starting in the top of the seventh inning. Dollander pitched his first shutout inning, stacking two half innings together for the first time today.
The added momentum was all that the Barons needed. Left-fielder Ben Norman walked up to the plate with the bases loaded, and an opportunity to turn the game around with one swing of the bat. Norman did not shy away from the moment, hitting a grand slam to bring the Barons to within one, making the stadium of nearly 7,000 people roaring.
Birmingham found themselves back one-run, and Dollander kept it that way with his second-consecutive shutout inning. The Barons offense used up all their energy in the seventh in comeback effort, not being able to convert anymore runs for the rest of the game. The lack of offense coupled with the Blue Wahoos adding a solo insurance run in the top of the ninth off of Dollander, sealed the game in the top of the ninth.
Dollander finished his afternoon allowing one hit, an earned run and five strikeouts.
Birmingham had a glimpse at a comeback, however that glimmer of hope was shut down rather quickly, as Pensacola sat down the Barons in order in the bottom of the ninth. The Barons drop their second game against the Blue Wahoos in as many days yet have to figure out how to nab a game from their opponent.
Otherwise, this may be a long week for the home squad.