PEARL, MS - An early battle between starting pitchers turned into a late-game hitting spree on Saturday night at Trustmark Park as the Biloxi Shuckers (50-37, 9-8 2nd half) emerged 3-1 winners over the Mississippi Braves (39-47, 6-11 2nd half). Cooper Hummel's go-ahead triple sparked a two-run ninth after the M-Braves knotted the game late.
Leading 1-0 courtesy of a Patrick Leonard sacrifice fly in the sixth, Nattino Diplan (H, 2) entered from the bullpen to throw the eighth inning and encountered trouble. After Carlos Martinez walked, Drew Waters entered as a pinch hitter and punched a double into the left field corner. Pinch-runner Claudio Custodio tried to score and was thrown out at the plate on the cutoff throw from Bruce Caldwell to save the 1-0 lead. Ray-Patrick Didder followed with a single and Riley Unroe was intentionally walked to load the bases. Diplan was lifted from the game in favor of Tyler Suprlin (W, 1-0) who gave up a game-tying single to Tyler Neslony, knotting the game at 1-1.
The response in the ninth inning was quick against Jonathan Aro (L, 3-1). After Patrick Leonard grounded out, Jake Gatewood ripped a double off the right-field wall and settle in scoring position. Hummel then stepped to the left side and yanked a go-ahead triple into the right-field corner to give Biloxi a 2-1 lead. With two outs, C.J. Hinojosa then supplied his second hit of the night, a single into center to score Hummel and jump to a 3-1 advantage.
Spurlin stepped back to the hill in the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order to lock up his first win since May 17th of 2016.
Strong starting pitching from both clubs prefaced Saturday's late drama. Shuckers right-hander Alec Bettinger retired the first 11 batters he faced, striking out six his first time through the order. Bettinger worked around a double in the fourth and a pair of two-out singles in the seventh en route to seven shutout innings. His start marked the fourth time this season he's completed seven frames and his punch out of Luis Valenzuela in the seventh gave him double-digit strikeouts for the third time.
M-Braves lefty Joey Wentz allowed his lone run on the sacrifice fly to Leonard in the sixth but also struck out ten and surrendered just four hits to the Shuckers over seven innings in a no decision.
The Shuckers continue their series with the M-Braves on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 pm. The Shuckers will send RHP Dylan File (3-0, 1.99) to the mound and Mississippi will throw RHP Jasseel De La Cruz (1-4, 3.32). The game can be heard locally in Biloxi on Cruisin' WGCM AM 1240/100.9 FM, TuneIn Radio or the MiLB First Pitch App and can be seen on MiLB.TV. Fans can save $10 off their subscription when they use the promo code 'Shuckers' at checkout.
Half-Season Shuck Nation Memberships, Flex Plans and Group Outings for the 2019 Biloxi Shuckers season are on sale now and are available for purchase by calling 228-233-3465, online at biloxishuckers.com or by visiting the MGM Park front office. The Biloxi Shuckers will host Game 1 and Game 2 of the South Division Championship Series on September 4 & 5 at MGM Park. Tickets for all six potential playoff games at MGM Park are on sale now.
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.