The Biloxi Shuckers were unable to get their bats going against Jordan Stephens in their series opener against the Birmingham Barons, falling 4-1 at MGM Park on Thursday night.
Stephens (W, 1-2) stymied the Shuckers (9-12, 45-45) for a season-high 7.2 innings, allowing only five hits and striking out four batters. The Shuckers couldn't turn a leadoff double from Johnny Davis and subsequent single from Tyrone Taylor into a run in the first, setting the tone for the rest of the night.
Luis Ortiz (L, 3-5) got into trouble in the first, walking three batters to allow the game's first run. The righty allowed only three hits in 3.2 innings, but one was a solo home run to Keon Barnum in the fourth inning to give the Barons (8-13, 34-56) a 2-0 lead.
The Shuckers got 3.1 solid relief innings from Travis Hissong, who didn't allow a hit until his third inning of work. The Barons were able to bunch together a Mason Robbins RBI single and Hunter Jones RBI triple in the seventh, however, to extend their lead to 4-0.
Gabriel Noriega hit a solo home run in the eighth, his first of the year, to cut the deficit to 4-1. But Jake Johansen came in for a four-out save to lock down the Barons victory.
The series continues on Friday night as Jon Perrin faces off against Barons ace right-hander Michael Kopech. First pitch is at 6:35 pm with live coverage beginning at 6:15 pm on Cruisin’ WGCM AM-1240/FM-100.9 and the Shuckers Radio Network. The game will also be available at biloxishuckers.com, MiLB.TV and TuneIn Radio.