Jacksonville, FL - Entering Sunday night's game against the Jacksonville Suns, the Mississippi Braves seemed poised to clinch a wildcard spot with a victory and a Mobile BayBears win over Pensacola. But both dominoes remained standing and so did the Suns' playoff hopes as the Braves fell 3-0 at Bragan Field.
Now only a Mississippi win in Monday's season finale and a BayBears win over the Blue Wahoos will clinch the final playoff spot for the Braves.
It was a great start to the night for Gus Schlosser, who retired the first 11 batters he faced before walking Austin Barnes with two away in the fourth. A batter later, Mark Canha doubled down the left field line, scoring Barnes from first and giving the Suns the only run they would need.
The Braves (39-31; 75-63) were stifled all night by Bryan Evans, who took revenge for a loss suffered on Mother's Day at Trustmark Park in which he gave up seven runs on 10 hits in a 9-3 Braves win. Evans threw 7 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
In the bottom of the 7th with Suns (39-29; 73-62) at first and second, Isaac Galloway grounded into a fielder's choice to third, but Edward Salcedo threw it into right field to score a run. Then Dan Brewer threw toward third but the ball sailed into the seats, allowing another run. That grew the Suns lead to 3-0.
Mississippi's best chance came in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with two out against Evans. Reliever Grant Dayton got Tommy La Stella to fly to deep left keeping the Braves off the board.
Evans picked up his seventh win after Dayton and Nick Wittgren combined to close it out. Schlosser suffered his sixth loss, despite allowing just a run over six innings. Wittgren picked up his first double-A save.
Now the Braves look to keep their playoff hopes alive in Monday afternoon's season finale, with first pitch slated for 12:05 PM CT from Jacksonville's Bragan Field. Mississippi goes with right-hander Mitch Atkins (5-2, 3.25) in the must-win game, squaring off with left-hander Justin Nicolino (3-2, 4.32).
Listen live to Kyle Tait on the call beginning at 11:30 AM CT with the Mississippi Braves "Countdown to First Pitch" online at MississippiBraves.com.
Mississippi Braves (37-31; 75-63) 0 R 6 H 2 E
Jacksonville Suns (39-29; 73-62) 3 R 5 H 1 E
W - Evans (7-5)
L - Schlosser (7-6)
S - Wittgren (1)
Time - 2:24 (:46 delay)
Attendance - 7,964