Aaron Wilkerson earned his 10th win of the season on Saturday night, pitching seven shutout innings as the Biloxi Shuckers beat the Tennessee Smokies 5-0 at MGM Park.
The Shuckers keep pace with the first-place Mobile BayBears and remain 2.0 games out of first place with 22 to play in the regular season.
The Shuckers jumped on Tennessee starter Stephen Perakslis (4-2) right away after an hour-long rain delay, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first before an out was recorded. Johnny Davis and Troy Stokes Jr. both singled, executed a double steal, and came home on a Blake Allemand double down the first base line to take a 2-0 lead. The steal for Davis was his league-leading 38th of the season.
In the fourth, Clint Coulter launched a majestic shot off the light standard in left field for his team-leading 14th home run of the year. Jake Gatewood followed with his first Double-A hit, a triple to the gap in right-center, and scored on Angel Ortega's RBI single to give the Shuckers a 4-0 lead.
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Davis hit a solo home run of his own in the fifth, but Wilkerson (10-4) had all the run support he would need. The righty allowed only three hits and struck out eight to join Jorge Lopez, Tyler Wagner and Brandon Woodruff as the only 10-game winners in Shuckers history. Saturday was Wilkerson’s seventh quality start of the season.
Lopez and Nick Ramirez pitched the final two innings of the game to finish off Biloxi's win. The Shuckers recorded 10 more strikeouts on Saturday and has 38 over the three games in the series thus far. Biloxi’s pitching staff issued its 11th shutout and currently leads the league in strikeouts and WHIP.
The Shuckers can clinch a series win at 5:05 p.m. Sunday as Jon Perrin faces off against Smokies righty Trevor Clifton