Thursday night culminated in a Jacksonville Southern League playoff berth and clinched the Jumbo Shrimp’s second-half South Division title (39-31 mark). A seven-game win streak the third week of August and a stellar home record (25-10, tops in the second half) aided in a trip to the final four. A 5-2 victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the series opener provided enough of a lead to eliminate the Biloxi Shuckers from postseason contention. The first two playoff games for the Shrimp will be played in Pensacola (40-30 as the first-half champions) on Wednesday and Thursday, both at 7:35 p.m.
- After taking the first two over the Blue Wahoos, the Jumbo Shrimp dropped the final three games to Pensacola. They snapped Jax’s eight-game home win streak with Saturday’s 3-1 victory. Their three third-inning runs and a masterful six inning from Blue Wahoos righty Austin Ross (9-0) were more than enough for Pensacola to snag the third game. … Even with Joe Gunkel retiring the first 14 batters he faced, a pair of sixth-inning runs provided the Blue Wahoos with the 2-1 victory Sunday.
- Center fielder Braxton Lee became the first Jacksonville minor leaguer in 26 years to win the Southern League batting title. His two hits Monday – in a 5-1 loss – gave him the crown with a .309 (.30882) average, edging out Chattanooga’s Jonathan Rodriguez (.30876) by the slimmest of margins. Lee’s 147 hits also led the Southern League after he was honored late last week as one of the league’s four best outfielders. Lee, who played with Montgomery until June 28, made it an interesting chase for the crown Monday with a seventh-inning single and then a double in the ninth.
- The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville had the largest increase in attendance for a Double-A ballpark from 2016 to 2017. The 23 percent increase is the largest in the ballpark’s history. The total home attendance for the regular season was 325,743 in the Jumbo Shrimp’s inaugural season. The local squad made history on multiple occasions with the crowd size and achieved numbers the Baseball Grounds has not seen since 2008-2010. Read all about the achievements here.
- Fireworks shows will follow each home playoff game at the Baseball Grounds. If the series extends longer than three games, Saturday and Sunday will have first pitches at 6:05 and 6:35 p.m. Follow @JaxShrimp on Twitter for in-game updates and series notes. Catch all the action on local radio with Roger Hoover on 100.3 FM and AM 1600 or on the TuneIn Radio app.
- Series Preview: Jacksonville lost all five games in Pensacola back in April, but that was the third series of the season. A lot has changed since then. The next matchup was again in Pensacola – late May into early June – and the Jumbo Shrimp were able to win two of the five games. In the middle of June, the pair faced off at the Baseball Grounds where Jacksonville won the series with three one-run victories. The Blue Wahoos took the final series three to two last week. Overall, Pensacola holds the edge over Jacksonville in a number of categories. The regular-season favored the Blue Wahoos, 13 games to seven. … The winner of Jacksonville-Pensacola will go on to face the winner of Montgomery and Chattanooga. The Shrimp last faced the Biscuits and Lookouts in July. The Bold City dropped four of its five games at Montgomery the week of July 4, and the same results occurred in Chattanooga for the Jumbo Shrimp one week later.