Playing in extra innings for the first time this season, the Biloxi Shucker (9-3) fell in 10 innings to the Mobile BayBears (5-6) 4-3 on Tuesday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Most of the scoring came in the first inning. Corey Ray started the game with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a single by Nick Franklin. With Jake Gatewood batting, Franklin broke for second base, drawing the throw from BayBears catcher Michael Barish. Ray streaked towards home plate and slid in head first, stealing home to give the Shuckers a 1-0 lead. Gatewood extended the lead two pitches later, demolishing a ball over the left field wall for his second home run of the season, pushing Biloxi to a 3-0 lead.
A couple of uncharacteristic errors hurt the Shuckers in the bottom of the first. With Wade Miley on the mound, the BayBears doubled and advanced a runner to third on a groundout. The first run of the game came in to score on a throwing error by Lucas Erceg, and Hutton Moyer reached in the ensuing at bat on a fielding error by Jake Hager. Two batters later, Connor Justus doubled into the right field corner, scoring another run. The inning came to a close, though, as Justus took a wide round of second base and was tagged out. Miley would throw 2.2 innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits while not walking a batter and striking out two.
RHP Luis Ortiz (1-1) came out of the bullpen and retired the first eight batters that he faced. His lone mistake came against Moyer, who hit his league-leading fifth home run with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning to knot the game at 3-3.
Biloxi had a golden scoring opportunity in the eighth but hit into a triple play. With Ray on second and Troy Stokes Jr on first, the runners attempted a double-steal on a full-count pitch to Erceg. The Shuckers third baseman blasted a ball right to the BayBears first baseman, who tagged first base for the second out and threw to second to complete the triple play. Biloxi put men on first and second with one out in the top of the ninth, but couldn't push a run across as Dylan Moore and Tyler Heineman both flied out to close out the top of the ninth. Ortiz pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the inning, striking out his 10th batter of the night.
With a man starting on second to start the 10th inning, the Shuckers opted to sacrifice with their first at bat, pushing the runner to third. Ray struck out swinging and Erceg bounced out to second, ending the scoring threat.
In the bottom of the 10th, the Shuckers intentionally walked the first batter, putting runners on first and second. Brennon Lund bunted his way on base and Matt Thaiss flied out to left, allowing the runner at third to tag up and score the winning run. Despite taking the loss, Ortiz hurled 6.1 innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits while walking three and striking out a career-high 10 batters.
Game three of a five-game series is on Wednesday night at 6:35 pm. The Shuckers are scheduled to send RHP Zack Brown (0-0, 4.09) to the mound, while the BayBears have not named a starter. The game can be heard locally on Cruisin' WGCM 1240 AM/ FM 100.9, the MiLB First Pitch or TuneIn Radio.
Single game tickets for the Biloxi Shuckers 2018 season are on sale now and can be purchased at the MGM Park box office or over the phone through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Season tickets, flex plans and group outings are also available and can be reserved by calling 228-233-3465 or visiting www.biloxishuckers.com.
ABOUT THE BILOXI SHUCKERS:
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. For more information please visit biloxishuckers.com and follow us on Twitter @biloxishuckers and at facebook.com/biloxishuckers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.