Smokies shut out Blue Wahoos, 5-0
PENSACOLA, Fla. — A trio of Smokies pitchers combined to allow just two hits as Tennessee blanked the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 5-0, Friday in front of a capacity crowd of 5,038 at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
The win – Tennessee’s fifth straight and seventh in their last eight games – officially eliminates the Blue Wahoos from playoff contention.
Left fielder Rubi Silva led the offensive charge for the Smokies, going 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.
Tennessee wasted no time opening the scoring. After a Matt Szczur leadoff single and a Logan Watkins double put two runners in scoring position with no outs, Jae-Hoon Ha lifted a sacrifice fly to right to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Tennessee’s pitching stifled the Blue Wahoos. Chris Rusin started and retired all nine batters he faced over three perfect innings. Nick Struck took over in relief and sat down Pensacola in order in the fourth before running into trouble in the fifth. With the Blue Wahoos down, 1-0, Beau Mills led off with a triple past diving center fielder Matt Szczur. After Donald Lutz walked and David Vidal struck out, Struck escaped the jam unscathed to preserve the lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Smokies extended their advantage to 4-0 when Silva lifted a three-run homer to left just over the glove of the leaping left fielder Lutz. Silva added an eighth-inning RBI single to put Tennessee up 5-0.
After retiring 12 straight batters, Struck (14-10) was lifted from the game in the ninth following a two-out walk. Tony Zych took over and gave up a pinch-hit single to Yordanys Perez before recording the final out to seal the 5-0 victory.