By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (9-14, 38-54) will shift their focus toward the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (13-10, 38-53) in a mini two-game series starting tonight at 7:35 p.m. ET from Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
The Suns are coming off a series with the Mississippi Braves in which they had dropped four out of the five games played. After the five-game set in Pearl, Miss., Jacksonville now sits at their lowest point below .500 in the overall standings (16 games).
The season series between the Suns and Wahoos currently has Pensacola holding the edge having won seven of the 13 meetings. Both teams have had trouble holding court on their home turf, as the road team in the series has manufactured a winning record at the others’ ballpark. Jacksonville has won every season series since the inception of the Golden Skillet trophy in 2012.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos enter tonight’s series opener 13-10 in the second half, and 38-53 overall on the 2015 season. After a rough start that saw the Wahoos finish 25-43 ,and in last place in the Southern League South Division standings, they have positioned themselves a game back of the top spot in the early going of the latter portion of the year. The club enters last in batting average (.242) and tied for seventh in ERA (3.93) in the S.L.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville right-hander Trevor Williams to be opposed by Pensacola righty Josh Smith. Williams takes the ball 6-7 alongside a 3.83 ERA in 18 appearances and 17 starts with the Suns. His last trip to the hill came on 7/15 against the Mississippi Braves, in which he earned a winning decision after tossing six innings allowing one run (earned) on six hits while walking and striking out three in a 98-pitch performance. He has made a pair of starts against Pensacola this year, and total has put together a record of 1-1 attached with a 5.06 ERA in 10 and two-thirds innings. In the month of July, the 23-year old has been impressive going 3-0 while posting a miniscule ERA of 0.50 in three starts. He entered the Marlins organization as a former second round draft pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University.
Smith will enter this start 4-2 controlling a 2.95 ERA in six starts at the Double-A level with Pensacola. The 27-year old has spent time at four different levels this year that included the parent club Cincinnati Reds, High-A Dayton Dragons, Triple-A Louisville Bats, and now in Double-A with the Wahoos. In the majors he finished 0-2 saddled with a 7.30 earned run mark in three starts, and he would square off against the Pirates, Mets, and Brewers lasting a total of 12 and one-third frames surrendering 10 earned runs on 12 hits. He’s a former 21st round draft pick of the Reds organization in the 2010 draft out of Lipscomb University.
Fans can listen to the game live on the Suns Baseball Network, with Roger Hoover providing play by play. Roger Hoover and Kyle Crooks will host the Memorial Hospital Suns Pre-Game Show beginning at 7:20 p.m. ET on the Suns Baseball Network.
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (9-14, 38-54) @ Pensacola Blue Wahoos (13-10, 38-53)
Starters: PNS: RHP Josh Smith (4-2, 2.95 ERA) vs. JAX: RHP Trevor Williams (6-7, 3.83 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Carlos Lopez has hit safely in 34 of his last 44 games, and during the stretch he has manufactured a .327 average (55-for-168). Sharif Othman controls an eight-game hit streak in which he is 9-for-29 (.310) at the plate. Eudy Pina became his tenure in the Miami Marlins organization Saturday night collecting a pair of triples along with two runs scored. Shortstop J.T. Riddle is batting .471 in his last five games while producing a four-game hit streak.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Closer Sean Donatello is first in saves (14) in the Southern League. Matt Juengel rests second in home runs (15), third in RBI (55), and total bases (145). Carlos Lopez has tallied 95 hits which is good for third, and he’s tied for second in games played (88). Viosergy Rosa sits third in walks generated (50). For relievers, Brian Ellington controls the second-best ratio of fewest baserunners/9IP (9.00), average against (.196), while controlling the third-best K/9 ratio (9.69). Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.76). Zack Cox controls the sixth-best batting average in the league (.305).