Down to their last strike in the ninth inning, the Biloxi Shuckers got an RBI single from pinch hitter Gabriel Noriega to erase a 6-2 deficit against the Mississippi Braves and win 7-6 on Friday night.
In opening their road trip with a win, the Shuckers find themselves just 2.5 games out of first place in the Southern League's South Division. The game was delayed 1 hour, 11 minutes due to rain and wrapped up after a 3 hour, 20-minute game at 11:31 pm.
The game had a combined 15 walks and five errors that led to five unearned runs.
The game was billed as a matchup between two aces in Biloxi's Aaron Wilkerson and Mississippi's Mike Soroka. That prediction proved true through two scoreless innings, but a single from Troy Stokes Jr. in the third gave the Shuckers a 2-0 lead. The Braves responded in the bottom half of the inning with a three-run home run off the bat of Austin Riley to take a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth, three walks from Wilkerson and a pair of Shuckers errors extended Mississippi's lead to 6-2. The biggest blow was a bases-loaded fielder's choice that turned into two runs after a Dustin DeMuth throwing error.
The Shuckers would come back in the seventh, thanks to two errors from the Braves defense. Johnny Davis had the only run-scoring hit, but the Shuckers would plate three to bring the deficit to 6-5.
Josh Uhen and Jorge Lopez (6-7) put up zeroes in relief for Biloxi, and the offense loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman off former Shucker Junior Rincon (0-1) with two outs. The Braves brought in closer Danny Reynolds to face the pinch-hitter Noriega, who looped a two-run single to right field to give the Shuckers a 7-6 lead.
There was confusion in the bottom of the ninth, as the official scorer and scoreboard operator claimed that the go-ahead run was waved off at the plate. Matt Ramsey worked around a leadoff walk to complete his 22nd save, but the miscommunication led to a chorus of boos as fans expected the game to continue.
The Shuckers will try to make it two wins in a row at 6 p.m. Saturday night as Jon Perrin faces off against lefty Tyler Pike.