Tommy Hanson struck out nine over seven innings and Jordan Schafer hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th on Friday as the Mississippi Braves edged the Birmingham Barons, 3-2, to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 first-round series.
Hanson held the Barons to two runs on six hits before Kevin Gunderson (1-0) picked up the win in relief. Luis Valdez pitched a perfect 11th for the save, leaving Mississippi one win from advancing to the Southern League Championship Series for the first time in team history.
Schafer struck out three times but broke a 2-2 tie when his fly ball in the 11th plated Matt Young.
Van Pope lined an RBI double and J.C. Holt followed with a run-scoring single as the Braves grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning.
Stefan Gartrell and Lee Cruz each drove in runs for Birmingham.
All-Star Jon Link (0-1) allowed one run on two hits and a walk over 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. Former first-round pick Aaron Poreda struck out nine and held the Braves to a pair of runs on five hits over six innings.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Mississippi. Box score
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.