The Pensacola Blue Wahoos scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to top the Biloxi Shuckers 10-5 on Saturday night at MGM Park, forcing a Game 5 in the Southern League South Division playoffs.
Tied at 5-5 in the top of the ninth, right-hander Nate Griep struck out Jimmy Kerrigan to start the inning before Caleb Hamilton walked and Mark Contreras singled, putting the go-ahead run at third. Back-to-back singles by Alex Kiriloff and Royce Lewis drove in a pair of runs and ended the night for Griep. Ryan Jeffers plated another run with a single and a two-RBI double from Jose Miranda capped the scoring for Pensacola, extending their advantage to 10-5.
Right-hander Johnny Cheshire surrendered a lead-off single to Max McDowell in the bottom of the ninth but induced a double play ball and a groundout to bring the game to a close.
Pensacola jumped out to an immediate lead in the top of the first inning. Kiriloff homered to start the contest, his fourth homer of the postseason, and Travis Blankenhorn drove in another run with a sacrifice fly, giving the Blue Wahoos a 2-0 lead before the Shuckers grabbed their bats.
The Shuckers responded with a big inning of their own. Luis Aviles Jr. singled to lead off the bottom of the first and Cooper Hummel was hit by a pitch, putting two men on with no outs. Aviles moved up to third on a flyout to center by Dillon Thomas before scampering in to score on a sacrifice fly by Weston Wilson, bringing Shuckers within a run at 2-1. C.J. Hinojosa followed with a ground-rule double to right, bringing up Jake Gatewood with two men in scoring position. The third baseman cranked a three-run homer off the batters’ eye in center, his third home run of the postseason, catapulting Biloxi to a 4-2 advantage.
In the top of the third, Jeffers tied the game with a two-run home run to right, his first of the playoffs, knotting the contest at 4-4. The Blue Wahoos broke the deadlock in the seventh on a solo home run from Contreras, his first of the postseason, to put Pensacola in front 5-4.
Biloxi scratched across the tying run in the home half of the eighth thanks to a walk to Thomas, a single by Wilson and an RBI fielder’s choice by Hinojosa. The Shuckers second baseman moved around to third with two outs in the inning but was left stranded on a pop out to right field.
The decisive Game 5 was set to be played at 5:05 p.m. on Sunday in Biloxi.