The Birmingham Barons rode a stellar outing from starter Chris Beck to a 5-4 win and a series victory against the Mississippi Braves Saturday in front of a sellout crowd of 8,500 at Regions Field.
The Barons jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning with a pair of two-out runs. Kevan Smith started the scoring with an RBI base hit scoring Josh Richmond. With the infield playing Christian Marrero to pull, he laid down a perfect bunt to the third base side scoring Rangel Ravelo with the second run of the inning.
M-Braves starter J.R. Graham (1-4, 5.40) lasted just one inning and was replaced by Ryan Weber prior to the second inning. A third inning sacrifice fly by Ravelo extended the lead to 3-0 and an inning later Trayce Thompson broke the game open with a bases loaded two-run single scoring Chris Curley and Dan Wagner for a 5-0 advantage.
Barons starter Chris Beck (5-8, 3.61) was dominant for most of the night, carrying a shutout into the ninth inning before a David Rohm RBI single ended the bid. Beck gave way to reliever Kevin Vance who surrendered a two-run triple to Kyle Kubitza and an RBI double to Daniel Castro, cutting the Barons lead to 5-4. However, a diving catch on a sinking line drive by center fielder Jared Mitchell took away a game-tying base hit for Matt Kennelly and preserved the win. Kevin Vance picked up his sixth save of the season and second of the series in the process.
Beck finished with three runs allowed including two earned on six hits over 8.1 IP while picking up his fifth win of the season.
Thompson, Ravelo and Smith led the Barons offense with two hits apiece while Thompson (2) and Mitchell (1) each added stolen bases and a pair of jaw-dropping catches in the outfield.
The sellout was the seventh of the season for the Barons and the 13th regular season sellout at Regions Field since 2013. The Barons lead all Double-A teams and rank 16th in Minor League Baseball in total attendance this season (321,497).
The win was the third in a row for the Barons who improved to 15-12 in the second half and 44-53 on the season while Mississippi fell to 15-14 in the second half and 54-44 on the year. The Barons will look to win their fourth in a row tomorrow afternoon as RHP Myles Jaye (1-8, 6.63) takes the hill against RHP Mitch Atkins (4-0, 4.69). First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM CDT.