BayBears Clinch Playoff Berth With DH Split

A doubleheader split versus the Huntsville Stars was good enough for the Mobile BayBears on Saturday, as they advanced to the Southern League playoffs for the first time since 2004. A 10-7 game one defeat was followed by a 5-2 victory in the nightcap and a Montgomery loss to Jacksonville.

Daniel Stange (S, 13) closed out the victory in game two for the BayBears (73-62, 37-30) which lowered their magic number to one over the Biscuits as he posted a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Reid Mahon (4-3) tossed two perfect frames and drove home an insurance run with an RBI single in the top of the sixth to knock home Ryan Wheeler.

Wheeler had a big night for the BayBears as he drove in three including a go-ahead two-run homer off Chris Cody (7-8) in the top of the fourth that put the BayBears up 3-2. Huntsville (67-71, 34-34) was ahead 2-0 after RBI doubles in the bottom of the third by Lee Haydel and Zelous Wheeler against starter Bryan Henry, who lasted four innings and surrendered just three hits.

"It's awesome," said BayBears skipper Rico Brogna. "The best part is watching the guys celebrate. It's just an awesome feeling. I'm so happy for the staff and players."

In game one, the BayBears fell behind as the Stars picked up three in the first against Tom Layne, but they battled back to tie the game in the second before erupting for a 7-4 lead in the fifth inning on an opposite-field, three-run homer by Jake Elmore.

That lead was eventually squandered by the BayBears' bullpen in the bottom of the sixth as the Stars struck for six tallies, highlighted by Caleb Gindl's three-run jack off Bryan Woodall (1-4). Lucas Luetge (3-2) and Jim Henderson (S, 7) nailed down the victory to send the BayBears to their second straight loss.

The BayBears will open the South Division Championship Series on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds against the Jacksonville Suns, who were division winners in both halves. Games one and two will be played in Jacksonville while game three will shift to Hank Aaron Stadium on Saturday, September 11 at 7:05 p.m. Games four and five would be played if necessary back in Jacksonville.

"The Suns are a good team," Brogna noted. "We play them tough. It should be a good series. Two clubs that really play as a team. Should be a great series."

BayBear Bits
  • Stange has now enjoyed 21 scoreless appearances since the All-Star break and has saves in each of his last seven games
  • Konrad Schmidt has driven in nine runs over his last six games
  • Elmore's homer was just his second this season in 381 at-bats

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