PEARL, MS -- Seth Loman's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Mississippi Braves to a 3-2 victory over the Birmingham Barons Friday night at Trustmark Park. With the win, the M-Braves hold on to a one-game lead in the Southern League South Division race.
With the win, the M-Braves also tied the team record for wins in a season-76 wins was the record set by the 2013 Double-A Braves. Mississippi (37-24, 76-54) scored three runs on six hits. Birmingham (29-32, 58-73) plated two runs on 10 hits. Gustavo Nunez and Cedric Hunter led the M-Braves offensively with two-hit nights.
The M-Braves took a 1-0 lead in the second. Hunter singled and Loman was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Erik Castro then walked with one out to load the bases before Barrett Kleinknecht grounded out, allowing Hunter to score on the play.
Nunez hit an inside the park home run in the bottom of the third to extend the M-Braves lead to 2-0.
In the top of the fourth, Tim Anderson reached on back-to-back singles. A force out allowed runners to reach the corners with one out. Another ground out brought home Anderson to cut the Braves lead to 2-1. Jason Coats then followed with a game-tying triple to center field.
Mississippi took a 3-2 lead in the eighth. Nunez and Hunter both singled. Nunez then stole third with one out to put runners at the corners for Loman's sacrifice fly to right field.
Ryan Kelly (2-2) picked up the win, working 1.2 innings for the M-Braves. Nelvin Fuentes (0-1) gave up the go ahead run and took the loss. He gave up a run on three hits and record three K's.
Neither starter factored in the decision. Jason Hursh tossed six innings for the Braves, giving up two earned runs on nine hits while fanning four. Tony Bucciferro went 6.2 frames for the Barons. He gave up two earned runs on three hits, a homer and two walks while striking out four.
In game two of this five-game series at Trustmark Park, M-Braves right-hander Greg Ross (6-3, 2.20) counters Barons righty Mike Recchia (5-4, 3.21). First pitch is slated for 6:00 PM on Fan Appreciation Night. Gates open at 5:00 PM.
Birmingham Barons (29-32, 58-73): 2 R 10 H 0 E
Mississippi Braves (37-24, 76-54): 3 R 6 H 0 E
W: Ryan Kelly (2-2)
L: Nelvin Fuentes (0-1)
Time: 2:44 (:06 delay)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.