JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp left-hander Matt Tomshaw pitched seven scoreless innings for his team-high 11th victory, and left fielder Austin Dean hit a first-inning home run in a 2-0 win over the Mississippi Braves before 6,485 saw NAPA AutoCare Family Fireworks on Red Shirt Friday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.
In a duel of All-Stars entering Friday with 10-6 records, Tomshaw faced Braves right-hander Mike Soroka, who entered with a league-best 2.69 ERA. Each had no-decisions with seven-inning starts in a 3-2 Braves win July 25 in Mississippi.
After Tomshaw (11-6) pitched a perfect top of the first inning, Jacksonville (23-23 second half, 53-63 overall) took the lead with Dean's one-out solo home run to the left-field berm off Soroka (10-7).
In the bottom of the third inning - when Sgt. Scampi from local nonprofit K9s for Warriors weekly serves as the bat dog for the Jumbo Shrimp - shortstop KC Serna hit a leadoff double down the left-field line. Tomshaw's sacrifice bunt went back to Soroka, but Serna beat the tag at third base. Center fielder Braxton Lee then battled Soroka for 10 pitches, including six two-strike foul balls, and lined an RBI single to left field for a 2-0 lead. Soroka scattered two more singles after that point, finishing six innings with two earned runs on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts.
Mississippi (13-32, 47-68) came closest to scoring in the fourth inning. Shortstop Dylan Moore and third baseman Austin Riley hit consecutive singles, before Tomshaw threw out first baseman Joey Meneses on a ground ball to the third-base side of the mound. With the tying runs in scoring position, left fielder Keith Curcio lifted a fly ball to left-center field, where Lee caught it and recorded his Southern League-leading 14th outfield assist with a throw on the fly to catcher Cam Maron to tag out Moore and end the inning.
Tomshaw escaped a bases-loaded, sixth-inning jam with an infield popup and finished the seventh inning with consecutive strikeouts to strand a runner at third base. He scattered five hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Right-hander Clayton Mortensen began both the eighth and ninth innings with walks but tallied five strikeouts over the last two innings to earn his team-high sixth save, securing Tomshaw's 11th win that tied his career high and is tied for second in the Southern League.
UP NEXT: The Jumbo Shrimp continue their series with Mississippi at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, when Jacksonville right-hander Trevor Richards (3-4) is scheduled to face Braves left-hander Tyler Pike (0-5). Gates open at 5 p.m. for the Swisher International Bowling Shirt Giveaway, when the first 1,000 fans receive a Jumbo Shrimp bowling shirt courtesy of Swisher International.
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are beginning a new era of affordable family fun with the 2017 season presented by Community First Credit Union at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. With a new lineup of ticket and group options, there is a reason for everyone to get part of the action by calling the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visiting www.jaxshrimp.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.