Schultz sparkles as BayBears advance

D-backs prospect hurls six one-hit innings in rout of Braves

By Guy Curtright / Special to | September 8, 2013 8:06 PM ET

After getting the save in the deciding game of Mobile's second straight championship a year ago, Bo Schultz helped make sure the BayBears have a chance to make Southern League history this season.

Of course, the D-backs prospect had plenty of runs to work with as he limited Mississippi to one hit over six innings.

Mobile scored nine runs in the third and routed the Braves, 15-0, on Sunday night at Hank Aaron Stadium to win the South Division finals in four games.

"We had a good celebration afterwards, but it wasn't raucous," BayBears manager Andy Green said. "We know that there is more work to be done."

The only Southern League team to win three titles in a row was Montgomery, which did it from 1975-77. Mobile can match that feat by defeating the North Division champion -- either Birmingham or Tennessee.

"Going back-to-back-to-back would be incredible," Schultz said. "I can't speak for everyone, but I know I'm ecstatic about the opportunity. You play to get that ring, and I know I want another one."

The offensive explosion made things easy for Schultz (1-0). It was the highest run total of the season for the BayBears, who totaled 16 hits, while Mississippi suffered the most lopsided loss in franchise history.

Mobile will host the first two games in the best-of-5 Championship Series on Wednesday and Thursday at Hank Aaron Stadium, where they have won 11 of their last 13 games and were 43-27 during the regular season.

Schultz, who was 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA during the season, allowed four baserunners as he walked three and struck out four. Mississippi's only hit against him was a third-inning single by starting pitcher and Braves No. 10 prospect Aaron Northcraft.

"Starting is a new experience for me, but I'm enjoying it," Schultz said. "I was able to get a lot of ground balls and the defense behind me was great."

"He's got a plus fastball with a lot of life," said Green. "He has really adjusted well to starting and has a bright future."

Mobile defeated Tennessee for the championship in 2011 and beat Jackson for the title last season, winning in four games both times under former manager Turner Ward. Reliever Bryan Woodall is the only remaining BayBear from those teams.

Ward moved up as a coach with the Diamondbacks and Green was promoted to manage the BayBears after winning the Pioneer League championship last year with Missoula.

"There is a lot of turnover every year. I think we only have about eight players back from last season," Schultz said. "But everyone wants to keep on winning."

The first three games against Mississippi were decided by one run. But there was nothing close about the clincher.

Dustin Martin, who had two doubles and three RBIs, and Mike Freeman each collected three hits for the BayBears. Ender Inciarte, Nick Evans and D-backs No. 13 prospect Nick Ahmed added two hits apiece, with Inciarte scoring three runs and driving in two.

Ahead 1-0 after Martin's RBI double in the first, the BayBears scored nine times while sending 13 batters to the plate against three Mississippi pitchers in the third. Mobile had seven hits and three walks in the inning and scored twice on wild pitches.

Schultz started the inning with a walk and later drove in a run with a squeeze bunt. The only extra-base hit was a two-run double by Ahmed.

Mississippi totaled only four singles and never got a runner to second base as Steve Garrison, Bradin Hagens and Mark Serrano followed Schultz.

Mobile, which won 12 of its last 15 regular-season games, boasted the league's best overall record at 79-60 but finished just 1 1/2 games ahead of Wild Card entrant Mississippi both halves.

"I actually think the celebration after we won the first half was bigger than this one," Schultz said.

With a potential three-peat three wins away, the biggest party could be yet to come.

In other action:

Tennessee 10, Birmingham 7

Rubi Silva went 4-for-4 and scored three times as the Smokies pounded the Barons for the second straight game and evened the best-of-5 North Division series with another home win.

The decisive fifth game is Monday night in Tennessee, where the Smokies have scored 19 runs after totaling two in back-to-back losses at Birmingham.

Taylor Davis, pressed into action after catcher Rafael Lopez was injured in Game 2, had two doubles and two RBIs for Tennessee. Jonathan Mota and Arismendy Alcantara also had two hits apiece, with Mota driving in three runs and Alcantara two.

Jared Mitchell homered in the ninth for Birmingham, which was 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 men. Gameday box score»

Guy Curtright is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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