MOBILE, Ala. - 2011 first-round draft choice Trevor Bauer was as good as advertised on Sunday night at Hank Aaron Stadium; he struck out eight over five scoreless innings while the BayBears edged the Mississippi Braves, 5-4.
Bauer's usual pregame routine of more than an hour's worth of stretching and throwing preceded a solid effort in his Double-A debut. All five hits he surrendered were singles. His only potential trouble came in the top of the fifth after an error and two singles loaded the bases with no outs. Bauer rebounded by striking out Donell Linares before Ed Lucas bounced into a rally-dimming double play.
Bauer was placed with the lead to work behind in the bottom of the third. Jake Elmore reached on a two-out error by Lucas at short while A.J. Pollock singled to bring up Daryle Ward. Ward stroked a double to left-center off Jose Lugo to bring home both Elmore and Pollock, putting the BayBears (72-47, 34-15) on top.
Wes Roemer made his first relief appearance of the season in the sixth to spell Bauer. Mississippi (47-73, 22-28) tied the score at 2-2 as Lugo hit a slow roller to second, scoring Dan Nelson. Cory Harrilchak came to the dish when Braeden Schlehuber got caught in a rundown and was hit in the back by an errant throw from Ward.
Lugo allowed the BayBears to recapture the advantage in the bottom of the sixth another pair of tallies. Marc Krauss lifted a sac fly to score Ward. Taylor Harbin came home on a knock from Ed Easley. The M-Braves evened the contest again in the seventh as Nelson blasted an RBI double and scored on a three-bagger by Harrilchak.
In the bottom of the eighth, the BayBears broke the tie for good as Harbin started the frame with a single off Benino Pruneda (2-7). Harbin advanced to third on a throwing error by Pruneda and scored on bloop single from Krauss. Yonata Ortega (1-0) tossed a scoreless top of the eighth while Mike DeMark (S, 11) slammed the door with a perfect ninth.
The BayBears lead in the South Division by 9 games over the second-place Biscuits with their magic number to clinch a South Division second half crown at 13. The BayBears take on the Jacksonville Suns in the start of a five-game set from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Tuesday night at 6:05 central time. They return to Hank Aaron Stadium on Sunday, August 21 to host the Jackson Generals at 6:05 p.m., beginning the final homestand of the regular season. For tickets, which start at $5 for kids and $7 for adults, please call (251) 479-BEAR or visit www.mobilebaybears.com. You can also follow the BayBears all season long on Facebook and Twitter.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.