JACKSONVILLE, FL - The Biloxi Shuckers (52-39, 11-10) hit four home runs to down the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (37-53, 9-13) 8-6 on Friday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Keston Hiura went 4-for-4 with a homer in the Shuckers victory.
Biloxi needed just three batters to plate their first run in the first inning. Corey Ray drew a leadoff walk then stole second and third before Keston Hiura ripped a single into centerfield, driving in Ray to make it 1-0 Shuckers.
Tyler Heineman started the Shuckers home run spree in the second with a solo shot to right, his third of the year, off Jumbo Shrimp RHP Max Duval (L, 2-9). Hiura tagged Duval for a home run in the next frame, going the opposite way for his third long ball with the Shuckers, putting Biloxi in front 3-0.
Jacksonville used a two-out rally in the bottom of the third to take the lead. Duval walked and moved to third on a single by Braxton Lee, bringing up Monte Harrison, who singled to center, driving in the first run of the game for the Jumbo Shrimp. Isan Diaz catapulted a three-run homer to left, his second in as many nights and ninth of the season, to put Jacksonville in front 4-3.
RHP Thomas Jankins (W, 9-5) settled down after the homer to Diaz, retiring ten of the next 12 batters he faced, including nine in a row. He collected his league-leading ninth win of the season after tossing six innings and giving up six runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out four.
Another power surge put the Shuckers in front for good in the top of the sixth inning. Hiura was hit by a pitch, putting him on base for Jake Gatewood, who launched a 436 foot home run to centerfield, his 15th of the season, vaulting the Shuckers back in front 5-4. On the very next pitch, Lucas Erceg deposited a ball into the right field bleachers, pushing Biloxi to a 6-4 advantage. It is the second time this season the Shuckers have hit back-to-back home runs and just the fourth time in franchise history. Ray capped the scoring for the Shuckers, doubling in a two runners to make it 8-4.
The Jumbo Shrimp tightened the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but RHP Daniel Reynolds (H, 3) stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout of Joe Dunand before pitching a 1-2-3 eighth.
Hiura completed his perfect night with two outs in the ninth, singling up the middle off RHP Kyle Keller. All told, Hiura finished 4-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored, a stolen base and a hit by pitch. It's the seventh time a Shuckers batter has recorded four hits in a contest this season.
RHP Jon Olczak (S, 1) collected the save in the bottom of the ninth inning. The righty struck out the first two batters he faced before Harrison singled to right, bringing the tying run to the plate. Harrison attempted to steal second base, but was thrown out by Heineman, sealing the win for the Shuckers.
Biloxi continues their five-game series against the Jumbo Shrimp on Saturday night at 5:35 PM CT. The Shuckers are scheduled to send RHP Marcos Diplan (0-0, 1.10) to the mound against Jacksonville RHP Jordan Yamamoto (0-0, 3.00). The game can be heard locally on Cruisin' WGCM AM 1240/FM 100.9, TuneIn Radio or the MiLB First Pitch App.
Single game tickets for the Biloxi Shuckers 2018 season can be purchased at the MGM Park box office or over the phone through Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Playoff strips, half-season tickets, flex plans and group outings are also available and can be reserved by calling 228-233-3465 or visiting www.biloxishuckers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.