PEARL-- The Biloxi Shuckers were shutout 5-0 at the hands of the Mississippi Braves on Friday night at Trustmark Park. The loss snapped a season-high four-game winning streak.
Biloxi (11-4) spoiled a chance to jump on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Kyle Wren (0x2, 2 BB) and Nathan Orf (2x3) reached base without the benefit of a hit, but back-to-back strikeouts from Brett Phillips (0x4) and Jacob Nottingham (0x4) and a fly out by Tyrone Taylor ended the early threat.
The baseball gods responded by allowing Mississippi (5-10) to strike for five runs in the home half of the frame. Consecutive free passes to Ozzie Albies and Johan Carmargo preceded back-to-back RBI singles from Dustin Peterson and Carlos Franco to put the Shuckers in a two-run deficit. The third walk of the inning from Adrian Houser (0-2) put Jacob Schrader on board to load the bases, and Willians Astudillo followed by smacking an run-scoring single to center to put Biloxi in a three-run hole.
Dian Toscano made the first out of the inning with a fly out to center, but Franco scored from third on the sacrifice fly for the fourth run of the frame, with Schrader moving to third on the play. Matt Lipka followed with a walk to put runners on the corners. Opposing pitcher Andrew Thurman lifted a sacrifice fly to Phillips in center for the fifth run of the first inning.
Houser settled down after the five-run first, setting down seven of the 11 men he faced through the remainder of his outing, striking out five over that span. In his four outings of work, the Oklahoma native allowed five runs on five hits, four walks and those five strikeouts.
Braves' starter Andrew Thurman ran into trouble again in the third with runners at the corners and one out for Phillips, but the lefty would go down on strikes and Nottingham followed with the same result to end the Shuckers' threat.
Martin Viramontes took over for the starter to begin the fifth. The right-hander walked the first man he faced in Franco, but set down the next three men to get out of the inning. After setting down the first two in the sixth, the 26-year-old walked Albies, but induced a ground out from Camargo.
A one-out double by Franco in the seventh would be the only hit allowed by Viramontes, which was followed by a base-on-balls to Schrader. Viramontes would get Astudillo to bounce into an around-the-horn double play to escape the jam.
Stephen Peterson worked a perfect eighth and picked up two strikeouts for Biloxi.
Stephen Janas (1-2) earned his first win of the season for Mississippi, working five innings and allowing one hit and issuing one walk, while striking out four.
The Shuckers will look to bounce back in game two of the five-game series on Saturday night at Trustmark Park. RHP Jorge Ortega (0-1, 1.54) looks for his first win of the season for Biloxi, while RHP Chris Ellis (2-0, 1.56) looks to stay perfect for Mississippi