Patrick Leonard connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Biloxi Shuckers (42-30, 1-1 2nd half) in front for good in a 4-2 victory over the Mississippi Braves (34-37, 1-1) on Friday night at MGM Park. The win is the first for the
Patrick Leonard connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Biloxi Shuckers (42-30, 1-1 2nd half) in front for good in a 4-2 victory over the Mississippi Braves (34-37, 1-1) on Friday night at MGM Park. The win is the first for the Shuckers when they have trailed after seven innings this season.
Down 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, Luis Aviles Jr. started the Shuckers half of the frame with a bunt single and swiped second during C.J. Hinojosa's at bat. Michael O'Neill then worked a walk against RHP Josh Graham (L, 2-2), bringing up Leonard. The Shuckers All-Star first baseman worked a full count before unloading on a hanging changeup, hitting a three-run blast out of MGM Park, his sixth home run of the season, to put the Shuckers in front 4-2.
With the departure of Luke Barker to Triple-A, RHP Devin Williams (S, 1) entered the game to lock down the save for the Shuckers in the top of the ninth. The 24-year-old righty retired the first two batters before issuing a walk to Daniel Lockhart and surrendering a single to Luis Valenzuela. Williams stranded both runner and secured the win with a strikeout of Braves' #13 prospect Greyson Jenista, recording his first save since August 3, 2016.
Biloxi jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Hinojosa singled to right and O'Neill followed with a flair single into right. Leonard then drew a walk to load the bases and Dillon Thomas pushed home the first run with a sacrifice fly to left, making it 1-0. RHP Jassel De La Cruz didn't factor into the decision but held the Shuckers off the board the rest of the night, hurling seven innings and giving up just two hits while walking five and striking out nine.
Shuckers RHP Alec Bettinger also turned in a quality outing, running into his lone trouble of the night in the fourth. Drew Waters and Tyler Neslony both singled to start the inning, putting men on the corners with no one out. Ryan Casteel rolled a ball out to second that looked like a tailor-made double play, but on the exchange from Hinojosa to Aviles the ball was dropped, allowing Water to score without a recorded out. Bettinger got a strikeout of Riley Unroe but William Contreras singled to left to load the bases and Lockhart lifted a flyball to the warning track in right that plated Neslony to give the M-Braves a 2-1 lead. Bettinger finished off the night throwing six innings and allowing just the two runs while not walking a batter and striking out five. It was the fifth quality start for Bettinger in his last eight outings.
With the series even at one game apiece, the Shuckers and M-Braves continue their series on Saturday night at MGM Park. RHP Dylan File (0-0, 0.00) will make his home debut and second Double-A start for the Shuckers against the Southern League strikeout leader RHP Ian Anderson (5-4, 2.85). It's Shuck Yeah Saturday with a Kids Backpack Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. Gates open at 5:30 pm for a 6:35 pm first pitch. The game can be heard locally in Biloxi on Cruisin' WGCM AM 1240/100.9 FM, TuneIn Radio or the MiLB First Pitch App and can be seen on MiLB.TV. Fans can save $10 off their subscription when they use the promo code 'Shuckers' at checkout.
Half-Season Shuck Nation Memberships, Flex Plans and Group Outings for the 2019 Biloxi Shuckers season are on sale now and are available for purchase by calling 228-233-3465, online at biloxishuckers.com or by visiting the MGM Park front office.
ABOUT THE BILOXI SHUCKERS:
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi. For more information please visit biloxishuckers.com and follow us on Twitter @biloxishuckers and at facebook.com/biloxishuckers.