Double-A Biloxi found itself in a jam Thursday night with runners at the corners, nobody out and two Mobile runs already in. An instant later, the Shuckers were out of it.
The Double-A Brewers affiliate completed the unorthodox triple play in the first inning -- the first such feat in franchise history -- with a strikeout and two outs on the basepaths en route to a 7-3 win over the BayBears at Hank Aaron Stadium.
"I think you play long enough, I think I have [been involved in a triple play], but like I said, I think that was the cleanest one I've ever been involved in, no errors, no extra throws," said Biloxi catcher Max McDowell, who had a hand in each of the three outs on the play. "It was just a good baseball play by everyone involved, so it was kind of fun just to be involved in something that was so clean and untraditional at the same time."
Video: Biloxi turns unique triple play in first inning
The first four BayBears reached against Shuckers starter Drew Rasmussen, with No. 21 Angels prospect Jack Kruger delivering a two-RBI single up the middle to get his team on the board.
Kruger's knock pushed baseball's No. 4 overall prospect Jo Adell to third base with Jhoan Urena headed to the plate. With the count full, Kruger took off for second base. The 3-2 fastball from Rasmussen cut over the plate at Urena's knees for a called third strike , and McDowell unloaded a peg to second base.
Shortstop Bruce Caldwell stepped across the bag to receive the throw and tag Kruger, then -- with Adell breaking from third base -- wheeled and rifled a throw to the plate to catch the top Angels prospect for the final out of the frame.
Gameday box score
"We put ourselves in a 3-2 count," McDowell said. "Strike three was a good pitch. I get the throw and then Bruce turned it right around and threw it back to me to get the guy at home. Next thing you know, I was like, 'I think that was three.' It was a fun one, something I hadn't been a part of before, and for it to be clean, that's nice too. Not sloppy baseball."
McDowell was alerted to the runner coming his way by his teammates.
"Our dugout was on it," the backstop said. "They were yelling 'runner' and Bruce did a great job at second all in one move with the tag and to turn around and throw. He made a great throw to turn around and get him actually pretty easily at home."
2019 Minor League milestones
According to Baseball Reference, there have only been two triple plays in Major League history without contact between bat and ball. The moment happened so quickly, it didn't hit McDowell immediately that the inning was over.
"That's when it first clicked to me, [when] the dugout was fired up," he said. "They all came out onto the field and were high-fiving guys and I was like, 'Yeah, that was a triple play.' Those guys were fired up and it all kind of clicked. It was just fun to be a part of."
The play snuffed out Mobile's early offensive threat and enabled Biloxi to settle into the rhythm of the game.
"It was a huge moment," McDowell said. "It kept Drew in the game, kept the game rolling a little bit after a little bit of a slow start and then -- all of a sudden -- the momentum is on our side. It was definitely a huge moment and fun to experience also. You see something new every day on the baseball field."
2019 MiLB include
The Shuckers trailed, 2-0, until the sixth when Dillon Thomas lofted a leadoff homer to left field that opened a three-run inning. Biloxi added four more in the seventh to break the game open, highlighted by a two-run homer to left-center by C.J. Hinojosa.
While the triple play was Biloxi's first as a franchise, it wasn't the first between the clubs. Last year, the BayBears accomplished the feat against the Shuckers en route to a 4-3 win in 10 innings. It also wasn't the first time Mobile has dealt with a triple play at its expense this season, after hitting into one on May 1 against Montgomery -- also that opponent's franchise first.