In their league-leading 18th extra-inning game of the season, the Biloxi Shuckers ended their 10-game road trip on a high note with a 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Saturday night.
Jacob Nottingham's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the 10th inning proved to be the game winner in a game dominated by pitching.
In their fourth attempt, Saturday’s win helped the Biloxi Shuckers franchise reach the 200-win milestone, improving to 200-180 all-time since 2015. The first win was also at Blue Wahoos Stadium on April 9, 2015.
The Shuckers return to MGM Park with a 3-7 mark on their trip, trailing the first-place Wahoos and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp by just 4.0 games with 35 remaining in the regular season.
The two teams traded blows in the first, with the Shuckers stringing together three straight hits for a run in the top half of the inning and the Blue Wahoos countering with a Nick Senzel double and Gavin LaValley single to tie the game. The Biloxi run was scored by Johnny Davis and driven in by Angel Ortega, who each had two hits in the game.
Things quieted down considerably through the middle innings, as Aaron Wilkerson turned in yet another quality start. The reigning Southern League Pitcher of the Week backed up his complete-game shutout last Sunday with 6.0 three-hit innings, striking out seven and walking only one. In two starts over the road trip, Wilkerson allowed just one run on five hits over 15.0 innings with 14 strikeouts and just two walks. He ranks fourth in the league with 119 strikeouts and ninth with a 3.02 ERA.
Domingo Tapia pitched five innings for Pensacola, then gave way to Robert Stock in the sixth. The Shuckers loaded the bases against the righty, but Nottingham and Gabriel Noriega were unable to give the Shuckers a lead.
Nick Ramirez relieved Wilkerson in the seventh, then remained in the game as a first baseman after a scoreless frame. Josh Uhen (3-2) retired the Blue Wahoos in order to send the game to the ninth.
Ramirez started a two-out rally with a double in the ninth inning, but once again the Shuckers couldn't get a needed hit with a runner in scoring position. Fittingly, the Shuckers would eventually take the lead in the 10th without the benefit of a base hit. Carlos Gonzalez (1-2) walked the bases full with one out, and Nottingham lofted a fly ball to center deep enough to score Blake Allemand and give the Shuckers a 2-1 lead.
Jorge Lopez retired the Blue Wahoos 1-2-3 in the tenth for his first save since 2013. It also marked the first conventional save for the Shuckers since Matt Ramsey was promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the month.
The Shuckers start a big home series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at 5:05 p.m. Sunday night, as Luis Ortiz faces off against Shrimp lefty Matt Tomshaw.