For just the second time this season, the Barons faced a non-divisional opponent in the Biloxi Shuckers. However, in their last meeting in Birmingham, the Barons stifled the once 8-1 Shuckers by defeating them in five of the six outings. Last time, it was Birmingham ending Biloxi’s hot start, but
For just the second time this season, the Barons faced a non-divisional opponent in the Biloxi Shuckers. However, in their last meeting in Birmingham, the Barons stifled the once 8-1 Shuckers by defeating them in five of the six outings. Last time, it was Birmingham ending Biloxi’s hot start, but in this rendition of the series matchup, the Shuckers used the Barons to break out of their seven-game skid.
After a nine-pitch first inning, right-handed pitcher Kaleb Roper returned to the bump in the second without that same command. Specifically, two walks came back to bite Birmingham’s starter as a two-out base hit scored the first run of the night for Biloxi. Similarly, in the third, Roper faced a bases-loaded situation and, for the second time that inning, walked yet another batter, thereby giving the Shuckers their second run of the game.
Offensively, Birmingham hitters fanned early and often, as Biloxi’s starter, Victor Castaneda, had everything going in his favor. So much so, through just four innings, the 23-year-old prospect surpassed his season-high for strikeouts by racking up eight of them. Conversely, Kaleb Roper failed to last beyond four innings, as his day ended with a stat line of 4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 6 H, and three strikeouts.
With the way Castaneda was hurling the baseball and the lofty 6-0 lead going into the final two innings, this ballgame seemed dead and buried. However, thanks to several fielding errors, which Birmingham more than happily accepted, the Barons quickly came storming back in the eighth. Biloxi reliever Robbie Hitt endured the most troubling outing as he was accredited with surrendering all six of the Baron’s runs, despite only one of them being earned.
Despite the heroic comeback headlined by three major knocks by Yoelqui Cespedes, Alex Destino, and Xavier Fernandez, the game was far from over. With two more chances before extras, the Shuckers still had plenty of time to flip momentum onto their side and retake the lead. And, as typical with the entire Barons this season, the bullpen conceded just that.
Enter Yoelvin Silven, one of Magic City’s most reliable bullpen arms, and, following two walks, a common theme and issue throughout last night, all Biloxi needed to do was get a ball into the outfield. Felix Valerio earned the honors, and on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, he sent a line drive into left-field where Tyler Neslony came up firing, but it was not good enough to hose down the runner at the plate. In the end, the devastating loss accentuates the Baron’s season as a whole: streaky yet dangerous hitting, together with wild, inaccurate pitching.