The Biloxi Shuckers exploded for a season-high 11 runs to even their five-game series against the Barons in Thursday night’s 11-6 victory at Regions Field in Birmingham.
Ten of the 11 runs were scored with two outs as the Shuckers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Birmingham (4-3, 33-43) opened up the scoring for a second consecutive night, striking for two runs courtesy of Courtney Hawkins’ two-run homer in the opening inning. The Chicago White Sox’s 12th-ranked prospect has gone deep three times in seven games to open up the second half.
Two more runs came across for the Barons in the second inning to put the Shuckers in an even deeper hole to start off the game.
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Jeremy Dowdy and Joey DeMichele walked with one out and both runners advanced on a wild pitch with Eddy Alvarez at the plate. The Olympic silver medalist bounced an infield single to second, scoring Dowdy to put Biloxi in a three-run deficit. Adam Engel bounced into an RBI groundout to second, plating DeMichele for the second run of the inning to put Biloxi down 4-0.
Biloxi (2-5, 41-36) erupted for a two-out rally in the fifth and grabbed the lead. Angel Ortega and Johnny Davis were set down to start the inning, but Tyrone Taylor doubled to keep the inning alive. Brett Phillips walked to bring up Garrett Cooper, who poked a single to center to score Taylor for the Shuckers’ first run.
Jacob Nottingham drew a free pass to load the bases for Nick Ramirez, who lifted the first grand slam of the season for Biloxi out to right field for his ninth home run to give the visitors a 5-4 lead.
Phillips extended the Shuckers’ advantage to three with a two-out two-run double off the wall in right-center to bring home Ortega and Taylor in the fourth.
Birmingham answered with a run of its own in the home half of the inning on an RBI single off the bat of DeMichele in Taylor Jungmann’s final inning of work.
The 26-year-old lasted four innings in his first Double-A start since 2014. The right-hander allowed four runs (five earned) on four hits, two walks and six strikeouts on 73 pitches (41 strikes).
Phillips tagged another two-out RBI double in the sixth to stretch the Shuckers’ lead back to three.
Tristan Archer (3-3) came out of the bullpen to start the fifth and worked three innings of relief for Biloxi. The right-hander allowed an unearned run in the seventh inning. The Kingsport, Tenn., native gave up three hits and struck out two on the way to his third win of the season.
Tyler Spurlin and Stephen Kohlscheen tossed the final two frames and did not allow a run to complete the five-run victory.
Cooper’s multi-hit performance extended his hitting streak to eight games and carried the Auburn product’s on-base streak to 21 games.