PEARL, MS - Phil Pfeifer turned in 8.0 shutout innings with nine more strikeouts on Tuesday night, but the Mississippi Braves (26-32, 59-68) couldn't hang on to a ninth-inning lead in a 4-2 loss in ten innings to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (32-25, 70-57) at Trustmark Park.
Pensacola's win gives them a 3-1 series advantage and reduces Mississippi's elimination number to one.
Pfiefer recorded his second-straight 8.0 inning start and third this season in the no-decision. The Vanderbilt product struck out nine and walked just two, allowing no runs while scattering seven hits over his 18th overall start and fourth in Mississippi. In his last two games, Pfeifer has yielded only one run over 16 innings with 19 strikeouts and two walks, lowering his season ERA to 2.38.
The M-Braves broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth inning against reliever Alex Phillips. Ryan Casteel and Greyson Jenista hit back-to-back RBI singles after a two-out triple from Trey Harris to take a 2-0 lead.
Thomas Burrows (L, 0-1) took over for Pfiefer in the ninth and walked the leadoff hitter. Mark Contreras put Pensacola on the board with a triple down the right-field line and then tied the game by scoring on a sacrifice fly from Jimmy Kerrigan. The M-Braves failed to score in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Blue Wahoos and Braves went to extras for the first time in 21 meetings this season.
Burrows got Alex Kirilloff to bounce into a fielders' choice, retiring bonus runner Royce Lewis at third to start the tenth inning. The next batter, Ryan Jeffers, put Pensacola up for the first time on Tuesday, 4-2, on a two-run home run to left.
The M-Braves brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the tenth but stranded two on base to end the game. Mississippi dropped to 7-6 in extra-inning games this season while the third-place Blue Wahoos improved to 9-8.
Riley Unroe collected his second-straight multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-5 from the leadoff spot. Unroe is 6-for-14 in the series thus far. Braden Shewmake reached base safely twice, finishing 1-for-4 with a single and walk.
Game five of the six-game series is a Wednesday matinee at Trustmark Park. RHP Nolan Kingham (1-1, 1.50) starts for the M-Braves against RHP Bailey Ober (1-0, 1.29) for Pensacola. First pitch is set for 1:05 pm with coverage beginning at 12:50 pm on 103.9 WYAB, TuneIn Radio, First Pitch App. and MiLB.tv (subscription required).
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