PEARL, MS -- Coming off of a 10 game road trip and riding a four game losing streak, the Mississippi Braves (23-23) were happy to be back in the friendly confines of Trustmark Park to open a five-game series with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (25-21) Wednesday night. It was a true
PEARL, MS -- Coming off of a 10 game road trip and riding a four game losing streak, the Mississippi Braves (23-23) were happy to be back in the friendly confines of Trustmark Park to open a five-game series with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (25-21) Wednesday night. It was a true pitcher's duel by committee, as all three runs in Mississippi's 2-1 victory came in the first inning of play.
If you watched the first inning, 19-year-old right-hander Mike Soroka (5-3) looked like he was in for a long day. A lead-off walk, issued on just four pitches, followed by a single gave the Blue Wahoos a hot start to the game. Two outs later, Eric Jagielo plated the only Pensacola run of the game with a single to center. After that, Soroka allowed just two more runners, a double and a walk, en route to a dominant fifth win. Atlanta's fourth-ranked prospect finished with 5.2 innings pitched, allowing a run on three hits and two walks. Soroka also recorded an career-high 10 strikeouts.
The M-Braves used three relievers to piece together three scoreless innings and keep the Blue Wahoos at bay. Jessie Biddle saw just two-thirds an inning, allowing a hit and three walks. It was in the seventh that Biddle left with the bases loaded and one out, giving way to Evan Phillips. Phillips was phenomenal, getting a line out from Tyler Goeddel and a ground out from Alex Blandino to end the inning. Jason Hursh recorded the final four outs of the game and picked up his second save of the year.
Offensively, the Braves did all of their damage in the first on two swings. After a Jared James fly our to start the inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Travis Demeritte quickly flipped the script on Pensacola starter Tyler Mahle (5-2). Acuna launched a no-doubt solo shot over the bullpen in left field to tie the game on a 1-1 fastball. The very next at-bat, Demeritte followed suit with the same count and pitch, landing his team-leading seventh home run of the season in the M-Braves' bullpen.
Mississippi threatened again in the second, picking up two more singles before stranding them both as Mahle started what would be an offensive drought for the Braves with the final out of the inning. The right hander retired 13 straight batters to end his six-inning performance before giving way to Domingo Tapia, who continued Mahle's dominance by retiring the first five batters he faced. Tapia gave up a single to Demeritte in the eighth, the only hit and baserunner for Mississippi after the second. Mahle took the loss, giving up just two runs on five hits in six innings.
Offensively, the M-Braves struggled to find a spark after the first two innings, amassing just six hits in the game. Acuna and Demeritte both went 2-for-4 with a homer, single and RBI. Levi Hyams and Joey Meneses each added a single, and Kade Scivique earned the only walk for Mississippi. The M-Braves pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts and six walks in the contest.
Game two is slated for a 7:05 PM Thursday at Trustmark Park.