The Pensacola Blue Wahoos came close to pitching a no-hitter against the Chattanooga Lookouts Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Brandon Leibrandt was the starter for Pensacola and he entered the game with less-than-impressive numbers with a 1-3 record and an earned run average of 8.17.
You would never have known it by the way the 28-year-old southpaw threw it as he went six innings and allowed no hits as he improved to 2-3 with the 4-3 victory.
The Lookouts, who had won the last two games and had hoped to take the series, played pretty uninspired baseball for most of the hot and humid, summer Sunday afternoon as they didn’t get their first hit until the ninth inning.
Braxton Lee walked with one out and advanced on Chattanooga’s first hit by Leo Rivas, a line-single to right-center on a 1-2 count, to put runners on first and second.
Jose Barrero then made things interesting when he ripped an 0-1 pitch high over the wall in left to make it 4-3. It gave the scrappy shortstop his fifth homer of the season and he's now tied with Yoel Yanqui for the team lead. His 25 RBIs also lead the team.
That excitement didn’t last long as Yanqui was called out on a questionable third strike before Brian Rey grounded to short to end the inning.
With the win, Pensacola remains in first place in the South Division of the Double-A South standings with a 21-15 record while Chattanooga stays in second behind Birmingham with a 20-15 record.
Randy Wynne was the losing pitcher for Chattanooga as he allowed three runs on six hits in five innings. He also had three strikeouts.
But on a day when three of Pensacola’s four runs came with homers, Chattanooga offered no offensive support for Wynn, who is now 1-2 for the season.
Peyton Burdick led off the Pensacola second with a single and advanced on a single by Jerar Encarnacion before scoring on another single by Lazaro Alonzo.
Encarnacion hit solo homers in the fourth and sixth innings while Jhon Nunez had a solo roundtripper in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Chattanooga only had five base runners in the first eight innings and two of them were wiped out by double plays.
Rey walked in the second and fifth innings, Jay Schuyler got hit by a pitch in the third before walking in the sixth. Rivas reached on an error in the eighth before getting Chattanooga’s first hit in the ninth.
The Blue Wahoos finished the afternoon with eight hits, including three by Encarnacion and two by Nunez.
Both teams have a day off on Monday while the Lookouts begin a six-game road trip to play the Tennessee Smokies.
Chattanooga returns home on June 22 for a series with the Rocket City Trash Pandas.
PENSACOLA 010 111 000 – 4 8 1
CHATTANOOGA 000 000 003 – 3 2 1
Leibrandt, Bice (7), Bellatti (8), McKenna (9), Hock (9) and Nunez; Wynne, Demurias (6), Pinto (8) and Schuyler.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)