Mobile, AL - Greg Ross and the Mississippi Braves dropped a duel 4-2 to Aaron Blair and the Mobile BayBears in Monday night's second game of five at Hank Aaron Stadium.
Both starters went six innings, with Blair (4-1) shutting out the M-Braves (33-23; 72-54) on four hits with seven strikeouts in the winning effort.
The BayBears (33-22; 75-49) broke through in the third inning against Ross (6-3). Argenis Diaz singled and Brandon Drury walked but was forced out at second on a Dustin Martin grounder for runners at the corners. Gerson Montilla broke the scoreless tie with a two-out ground ball infield single to the shortstop hole.
In the fourth, Mobile struck again to make it 2-0. Todd Glaesmann led off the inning with a double and Dallas Tarleton singled up the middle to double the lead.
Ross pitched well but suffered the loss, allowing two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts.
Mississippi got their first run in the seventh off of BayBear reliever RJ Hively. David Rohm reached on a leadoff error by Diaz at short, moving to third on back-to-back groundouts to second. Matt Kennelly doubled to deep left to pull it to 2-1, but the Braves couldn't force the tying run home.
The BayBears got perhaps the biggest hit of the night in the seventh, a one-out home run by Tom Belza, a solo shot and his first at double-A off reliever Brandon Cunniff to make it 3-1 Mobile.
Mississippi came back with another two out double in the top of the eighth to pull it back to a run. Barrett Kleinknecht singled and came home on a Cedric Hunter double down the right field line, making it 3-2.
But that's all the M-Braves would get. Hunter was stranded at third base and the BayBears held on, tacking on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Evan Marzilli doubled and scored on a Cunniff wild pitch to make it 4-2.
Kaleb Fleck (S, 17) came on and picked up the save, firing the final 1 2/3 shutout innings with two strikeouts.
With the loss plus Jacksonville's 6-5 win over Pensacola, the M-Braves fall into second place looking up at the Suns and BayBears tied atop the division with 13 games left to play. The M-Braves and BayBears continue the series on Tuesday night with the third of five games, slated for 7:05 PM CT from Hank Aaron Stadium.
Right-hander Williams Perez (5-6, 3.18) takes the baseball for the M-Braves against right-hander AJ Schugel (5-2, 3.34).
Listen live to Kyle Tait on the call beginning at 6:30 PM CT on 103.9 WYAB and online at MississippiBraves.com.
Mississippi Braves (33-24; 72-54) 2 R 7 H 0 E
Mobile BayBears (33-22; 75-49) 4 R 11 H 1 E
W - Blair (4-1)
L - Ross (6-3)
S - Fleck (17)
Time - 2:55
Attendance - 731
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.