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Pensacola evens series

By PAT McCANN 
News Herald Executive Sports Editor

Posted Mar 9, 2018 at 12:01 AM

 

PANAMA CITY — The lasting image of Pensacola’s 9-7 Panhandle Conference baseball win over Gulf Coast on Thursday night was Pirates’ reliever Aaron Ginn.

 

The sophomore right-hander from Wakulla came out of the bullpen after Gulf Coast’s Malik Spratling had lofted a two-run home run about 10 feet inside the left-field foul pole to halve a four-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning.

 

From that point, it seemed like every Commodores’ hitter started with an 0-2 count as Ginn pounded the strike zone. Two scratch hits, seven strikeouts and two ground balls later Pensacola had squared the four-game series at a game apiece.

 

The teams will play a doubleheader starting 1 p.m. Saturday in Pensacola. Gulf Coast comes in 13-9, 1-1 with Pensacola 13-12, 1-1.

Chipola, 2-0, took the early lead in the Panhandle standings when Phillip Sanderson allowed two hits in eight innings of a 4-2 win over Tallahassee. TCC is in fourth place at 0-2.

 

Considering the early stage of the conference race, both Pensacola and Gulf Coast appeared to be doubling down with relievers who had been the most effective members of their respective bullpens. The Pirates also were starting their ace in D.J. Wilkinson, who had a 5-0 record and 2.38 ERA.

 

Gulf Coast countered with Jake Rice, who entered 2-2, 6.51, and the left-hander allowed only one hit in three scoreless innings to start the game. Wilkinson gave up five hits in the opening two innings, center fielder Bucky McGlamry bailing him out in the first when he gunned down Josh Nowak at the plate following Brett Wisely’s single, and Ben Rowden stroking a line drive that first baseman Jake Nemith turned into an easy double play in the second.

 

That pretty much set the tone until Nemith lined a solo homer in the fourth and the runs poured across the plate until Spratling’s homer.

After Ginn entered, Gulf Coast managed only infield hits by Jacquez Koonce and Ben Rowdon as he methodically mowed through the lineup.

“The key was Ginn shut it down like a college pitcher should,” Gulf Coast coach Mike Kandler said. “He showed that for him, at least, it was relatively easy.

 

“We’ve just got to keep pecking away. It wasn’t from a lack of effort; we just don’t have the ability to execute the things that you’ve got to do consistently. We just can’t get that done.”

 

The Commodores led briefly in the fourth when Alec Aleywine walked and scored on Wisely’s double to the right-center field gap. Wisely was cut down trying to stretch it into a triple and that cost a run when Spratling followed with a double.

 

Gulf Coast took its only lead, however, when second baseman Fausto Lopez booted Jeff Omohundro’s grounder and Spratling scored.

From there, it went downhill quickly for Gulf Coast. Pensacola combined Ryan Brewer’s solid leadoff single with a walk, bunt single by Lopez, sacrifice fly by Richard Sorrenti, another infield single off the bat of Griffin Rivers, and catcher’s interference for three runs in the fifth.

It became 6-2 in the sixth inning when McGlamry and Lopez had RBI singles against Rice and reliever Jacob Shumsky. Gulf Coast got within 6-5 in the bottom half. Rowdon’s single and Omohundro’s double were the lone hits, but Louis Davenport have difficulty locating when he relieved Wilkinson and four walks bolstered the rally.

 

Bryan Eusebio stroked a three-run homer off Peyton Knight in the seventh, Spratling responded with his two-run shot and then Ginn took over.

 

Each team wound up with 12 hits. Lopez and Nemith each had three hits for the Pirates. Spratling had three for Gulf Coast and Wisely and Rowdon each had two.

 

Kandler wasn’t ready to talk about his pitching rotation for Saturday.

 

“I’ll figure that out tomorrow,” he said.

 

Pensacola;000 132 300 — 9 12 1

Gulf Coast;000 203 200 — 7 12 2

Wilkinson (W), Davenport 6, Ginn 7 and Sorrenti; Rice (L), Shumsky 6, Knight 7 and Heffron.

Davenport pitched to two batters in the seventh.

LOB: Pensacola 8, Gulf Coast 10. E: Pensacola (Lopez), Gulf Coast (Spratling, Heffron). DP: Pensacola 3u, Gulf Coast 5-4-3. 2B: Lopez, Wisely, Spratling, Omohundro. HR: Nemith, Eusabio, Spratling. SB: Sorrenti, Eusebio, McGlamry, Foreman, Koonce. HBP: by Rice (Alvarez, Sorrenti). WP: Rice, Davenport. RBIs: Pensacola, Eusebio 3, Nemith, Sorrenti, Rivers, Lopez, McGlamry. Gulf Coast, Spratling 2, Wisely, Omohundro, Koonce.

 

 

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