Behind a pair of home runs by Jake Gatewood and a solid Double-A debut by RHP Trey Supak, the Biloxi Shuckers (30-20) defeated the Mobile BayBears (26-23) 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Hank Aaron Stadium. With the win, the Shuckers push their lead in the South Division of the Southern League to 3.5 games over the BayBears.
Biloxi struck first in the top of the second. Lucas Erceg started the inning with a leadoff double and moved to third on a groundout by Mitch Ghelfi. Two batters later, Wendell Rijo laced a single up the middle, scoring Erceg to give the Shuckers a 1-0 lead.
A pair of extra-base hits added another run to the Shuckers tally in the second. Troy Stokes Jr. started the inning with an opposite field triple and scored on a double by Jake Hager, putting Biloxi up 2-0. Hager finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
Making his Double-A debut, Supak didn't surrender a hit through his first 3.2 innings of work. The BayBears got to Supak in the fourth after a leadoff walk and a pair of singles plated a run. Brandon Sandoval doubled to start the fifth and scored on a single by Riley Unroe, evening the game at two apiece. Supak danced around the remaining danger, striking out Jose Rojas to finish off his afternoon. The righty allowed just two earned runs in five innings of work and struck out four.
Gatewood gave Supak a chance to earn the win with a solo home run in the top of the sixth, an opposite field shot for his eighth of the season, putting Biloxi up 3-2. RHP Miguel Sanchez (W, 1-0) came in to work the bottom of the inning and got into early trouble, walking the first batter before back-to-back singles loaded the bases. Sanger then chopped a ball back to the pitchers mound that Sanchez snagged and underhanded to Ghelfi at home for the force. Ghelfi then fired to first to turn a 1-2-3 double play. The BayBears would manage a run, though, as Sandoval singled up the middle, plating Connor Justus to tie the game at three.
The Shuckers went in front in the seventh without the aid of a hit. Rijo walked with one out and moved to second on a walk to Corey Ray. Stokes then lined out to right, allowing Rijo to tagged up to third. With Hager batting, LHP Adrian Almeida (L, 1-1) uncorked a wild pitch, opening an avenue for Rijo to race home and score.
The bottom of the seventh brought another tense moment for Biloxi. Sanchez retired the first two batters in order and was lifted for LHP Quintin Torres-Costa. The lefty induced a ground ball from Rojas that Gatewood bobbled at first, putting the BayBears first baseman on after the error. Torres-Costa issued a pair of free passes to load the bases, but left them full on a strikeout of Jared Walsh.
In the top of the eighth, Gatewood unloaded on a pitch from Almeida, homering to deep left field, his second of the day and ninth of the season, to give the Shuckers an insurance run. Gatewood capped off his day with an opposite field single in the top of the ninth inning, driving in another run to give Biloxi a 6-3 lead. The 22-year-old finished the day 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored.
RHP Nate Griep (S, 17) picked up his Minor League leading 17th save of the year in the ninth, escaping a bases-loaded jam after scattering two walks and a single.
Biloxi has the day off on Monday before returning to MGM Park for a five-game series against the Mississippi Braves starting on Tuesday night at 6:35 PM CT. On another Brew Crew Tuesday, fans can enjoy $3 Miller Lite, $4 brats and the Brew Crew Snack Attack. Check out the Shuckers social media throughout the game for an opportunity to win Brewers-themed prizes.
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.