PENSACOLA, FL - After falling behind 3-0 early, the Biloxi Shuckers (34-22) pounded out three timely extra-base hits en route to a 6-5 victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (21-33) at Blue Wahoos Stadium on Sunday evening. RHP Thomas Jankins (W, 7-3) collected his first professional hit and hurled six quality innings.
Through the first five innings, Blue Wahoos starter LHP Seth Varner held the Shuckers to just two hits. Hitting in the nine spot, Jankins led off the sixth inning with a single up the middle, his first hit as a professional. Troy Stokes Jr. singled two batters later in front of Keston Hiura, who worked a full count before singling up the middle to load the sacks. Jake Gatewood went down swinging for the second out, bringing up Lucas Erceg. The Shuckers third baseman worked a full count before ripping a double down the left field line, emptying the bases and knotting the game at three. Erceg recorded his sixth multi-hit game in his last nine games played, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI.
In the top of the seventh, Tyler Heineman put Biloxi in front with a solo home run off LHP Victor Payano (L, 0-1), his second of the season. Pinch hitter Wendell Rijo singled, and after a fly out by Corey Ray, Stokes launched a ball over the left field wall, his seventh of the season, to put the Shuckers up 6-3. Stokes finished the night 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, two runs scored and was hit by a pitch.
Jankins recovered nicely after a tough first two frames. The righty allowed two runs in the first on three hits and a walk, but induced a double play that ended the inning. After the Blue Wahoos plated a run on a double in the second, Jankins retired the next nine batters in order. He faced the minimum in his final four innings of work, using a caught stealing and a double play to cancel out a pair of base runners. All told, Jankins spun six innings and allowed three runs on four hits while walking three and striking out four. His win ties him with Shuckers reliever Nick Ramirez for the most in the Southern League.
RHP Jon Olczak, in his first appearance since he was named Southern League Relief Pitcher of the Month in May, dominated Pensacola, retiring all six batters he faced with four strikeouts in two innings of work. In the ninth, RHP Nate Griep (S, 19) allowed two runs on three hits, but got a line drive out to center to lock down his league-leading 19thsave.
Game Two of a five-game series is on Monday night at 6:35 PM. The Shuckers will send RHP Luis Ortiz (1-2, 3.46) to the hill against Blue Wahoos RHP Daniel Wright (2-3, 4.98). The game can be heard locally on Cruisin' WGCM AM 1240/100.9 FM, TuneIn Radio or the MiLB First Pitch App.
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.