BILOXI - The Shuckers rallied from down 3-0 to top the Tennessee Smokies 6-5 Thursday night in game one of a five-game series at MGM Park.
The big hit of the game came off the bat of Biloxi second baseman Chris McFarland, who ripped a three-run home run off the left field scoreboard to give the Shuckers a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Jaye Chapman entered the game in the ninth, gave up just his second hit in 9 1/3 innings this season, but finished the game with a scoreless ninth to record a Southern League-leading ninth save.
Chapman struck out three men in the ninth to give him 15 on the season and an ERA of 0.00.
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"Awesome, he's been awesome," Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero said. "There's nothing else I can say about it."
The Shuckers are 15-5 with a 3 1/2-game lead on second-place Pensacola in the Southern League South.
Brett Phillips had a nice night at the plate for the Shuckers, going 2-for-4 with a pair of important RBIs before a crowd of 1,570.
Tennessee jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Shuckers starting pitcher Adrian Houser in the top of the third. Smokies second baseman Chesny Young had an RBI single in the inning and Billy McKinney capped the scoring with a two-run single to center field.
Houser (1-2) recovered from his struggles in the third to earn his first victory of the season. He allowed four runs on five hits, striking out three and walking two.
"That's the way this game goes," Guerrero said of Houser's recovery Thursday. "You've got to be able to compete."
Rob Zastryzny (2-1) took his first loss of the season. He gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out three and walking two.
The Shuckers got to Zastryzny in the the fourth with Jacob Nottingham singling to start the inning and later scoring on a double to left by Javier Betancourt.
With two men on and two out, McFarland stepped to the plate and cleared the left fence for his first homer of the season for the 4-3 lead.
"The first two swings, I was a little bit out in front. I was trying to do too much," McFarland said. "The next pitch, I was always sitting fastball. He gave me the fastball and I got a hold of it."
Phillips provided a pair of insurance runs with RBI singles in the fifth and seventh innings.
Tristan Archer, Jed Bradley, Stephen Kohlscheen and Chapman combined to hold Tennessee to one run on four hits in the final four innings to close out the win.
Biloxi will go with Jorge Ortega (0-1, 1.53) as the starting pitcher in Friday's 7:10 p.m. game at MGM Park. Tennessee (11-10) has yet to name a starter for the contest.