BILOXI – The Montgomery Biscuits ended the Shuckers' five-game winning streak, 11-5, Thursday night with three different Biscuits hitting homers at MGM Park.
The game was tied 5-5 through two innings after the Biscuits took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first. After some early production at the plate, the Shuckers ran out of answers and were held scoreless in the final seven innings.
Shuckers manager Carlos Subero pointed to Biscuits starting pitcher Jared Mortensen's ability to rebound after early struggles as a key in the game.
“He did a good job,” Subero said. “He struggled with his command early on and was able to make adjustments and finish strong. He's been pitching well.”
Mortensen settled down after giving up five runs through the first two innings. He gave up five runs on five hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out four and walked three to improve to 5-3.
A crowd of 3,080 was in attendance for Wednesday's game at MGM Park. A total of 23,798 fans have shown up for the first seven Shuckers game at the new ballpark for an average of 3,400 per game.
After a run of five consecutive quality starts from Biloxi starting pitchers, left-hander Hobbs Johnson struggled on the mound Thursday night.
Johnson lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up seven runs, five earned, on four hits. He struggled with his control much of the game, walking five and striking out three.
“Johnson didn't have it tonight,” Subero said. “His command was erratic and they hit him. The tough thing about pitching is he had his best start all year at Mississippi and that's something you can feed off and keep on going. He hit a wall tonight. He didn't have command, a good feel. Pitching is about having feeling and this was one night he didn't have much.”
Just two pitches into the game, Montgomery had a 1-0 lead thanks to a leadoff single by Boog Powell and an RBI double by Dayron Varona.
The ugly start continued for Biloxi as Cameron Seitzer reached on an error by Shuckers first baseman Nick Ramirez, allowing another run to come home, and Johnny Field was hit by a pitch.
Justin O'Conner doubled to bring home a run and Patrick Leonard pushed another across on a ground out to first and Montgomery (33-33) led 4-0 before the Shuckers had a chance to bat.
The Shuckers (41-25) answered in the bottom of the first with Orlando Arcia starting the scoring with an RBI single to right to bring home Josh Fellhauer, who started the inning with a double to center.
With the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the first, Taylor Green tied the game by lifting a double off the left field wall to bring all three runners home and set the score at 4-4.
“We were able to get to (Mortensen),” Subero said. “The double off the wall by Green was a big hit for us, getting us back in the game.”
The teams traded runs in the second inning. Seitzer gave Montgomery the 5-4 lead by bringing home Juniel Quereceto on a ground out in the top of the second.
In the bottom of the second, Shuckers second baseman Nathan Orf pulled his first homer of the season well over the left field wall to tie the game again at 5-5.
“It always feels good (to get your first homer),” Orf said. “I wish they came a little more often, but it is what it is.”
While the hits dried up for Biloxi, Montgomery kept rolling at the plate.
Johnny Field went yard with a line-drive three-run homer to left with one out in the fourth for his 11th homer of the season, giving the Biscuits an 8-5 lead.
Montgomery scored three more on a two-run homer by O'Conner and a solo shot by Hector Geuvara to expand the lead to 11-5 in the seventh.
Southern League South All-Star Brooks Hall (7-3, 3.05) is set to start for the Shuckers at 7:10 p.m. Friday with fellow right-hander the Jamie Schultz (5-3, 3.11) on schedule to go for the Biscuits.