Milwaukee Brewers #1 prospect Keston Hiura delivered a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Biloxi Shuckers (39-27) defeated the Mississippi Braves (27-39) 6-5 on Wednesday night at MGM Park. With Mobile's subsequent loss, the Shuckers magic number to clinch the South Division first half title stands at two.
Both starting pitchers churned out quality starts, leaving the game tied at two after seven innings. RHP Thomas Jankins allowed one earned run, stranding six baserunners over six innings. RHP Kyle Wright struck out six Shuckers for the third time this season, but allowed four sixth-inning singles in a 2-1 game. Jake Hager's RBI-knock in the frame tied the game at two. With the bases loaded, Wright induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Tyler Heineman.
In the top of the eighth, the M-Braves struck for three runs to take a 5-2 lead. Tyler Neslony doubled, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch by RHP Daniel Reynolds. After a walk to Travis Demeritte, Alex Jackson boomed a two-run home run out to left field, his fifth of the year.
The Shuckers were quick to respond in the bottom of the inning. LHP Phil Pfeifer entered out of the bullpen and promptly allowed three straight baserunners to reach. He was lifted for RHP Chad Sobotka (L, 1-1). After striking out Heineman, pinch-hitter Clint Coulter rifled a triple to right-centerfield to tie the game at five, just out of the reach of centerfielder Connor Lien. Coulter, however, was stranded at third after Sobotka wiggled out of the jam.
RHP Nate Griep (W, 1-1) tossed a scoreless top of the ninth. The first batter in the bottom of the frame was Hiura. The Brewers top prospect wasted no time and turned on a 2-1 fastball that rocketed off the bat at 107.5 MPH. The ball landed softly into the home run netting in left field to provide the 6-5 walk-off win.
With the magic number at two, the Shuckers could clinch the division title on Thursday night with a win and a Mobile loss. RHP Luis Ortiz (1-2, 2.65) takes the mound for Biloxi, while RHP Touki Toussaint (3-6, 3.36) starts for Mississippi on a Double Play Thursday at MGM Park.
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. 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.