The Pensacola Blue Wahoos evened the South Division Championship Series at a game apiece with their 4-1 win over the Biloxi Shuckers on Thursday night at MGM Park.
Right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez kept the Shuckers’ offense off balance all night long. The Cuban allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings of work. At one point during his outing, Gutierrez retires 19 of 20 batters he faced.
The Blue Wahoos plated two early runs in the first inning against RHP Thomas Jankins, who took the loss. Jose Siri doubled on the first pitch of the game, and TJ Friedl followed with a bunt single to place runners at the corners. Siri scored on a Mitch Nay groundout, and Friedl came in two batters later on a Shed Long sacrifice fly to give Pensacola a 2-0 lead.
The Blue Wahoos extended their lead in the seventh when Gutierrez helped his own cause at the plate. Gavin LaValley began the frame with a leadoff walk, and Taylor Featherston reached base following a wild pitch after swinging through strike three. A third wild pitch in the inning from RHP Miguel Sanchez placed the runners at second and third with one out for Gutierrez who doubled to right centerfield, extending the lead to 4-0.
Biloxi’s lone run came on a Lucas Erceg double in the bottom of the seventh that scored Troy Stokes Jr., but the Shuckers could not bring the tying run to the plate in the late innings. Right-hander Carlos Navas sealed the win for Pensacola by recording the final four outs for Gutierrez.
South Division series schedule
Game 1 — Biloxi 5, Pensacola 3
Game 2 — Pensacola 4, Biloxi 1
6:05 p.m. — Biloxi at Pensacola
6:35 p.m. — Pensacola at Biloxi
6:35 p.m. — Pensacola at Biloxi (if necessary)