The Jacksonville Suns rode key hits from Chris Curley and J.T. Riddle to post a 4-2 victory over the Biloxi Shuckers in the final game of a five-game Southern League homestand at MGM Park on Friday night.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Shuckers, who have scored five runs in the last four games.
The Shuckers (44-40, 5-10 in the second half) open a five-game road trip at Pensacola on Saturday before returning home on July 14 to open a five-game homestand against Birmingham.
The Suns (38-47, 8-7) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with an unearned run. Riddle walked, Moises Sierra singled to center and Riddle scooted home on a throwing error by Brett Phillips.
Curley, who had struck out three times, delivered a bases-loaded single in the eighth to push the Suns’ lead to 3-0 before 4,338 fans.
After the Shuckers cut the lead to 3-2 in the eighth, Riddle hit an RBI single to right for the final tally. Riddle went 4-for- 4. Sierra and Brian Anderson were 2-for-4.
“I think (Brandon) Woodruff threw the ball well,’’ Shuckers manager Mike Guerrero said of his starting pitcher. “The run they scored on him came on an error.
“The problem in the game is we need to come up with clutch hits. You have to make good pitches when it counts. They got key hits when it counted and we didn’t.’’
Woodruff, who pitched at Mississippi State, worked the first five innings, giving up one unearned run on four hits with six strikeouts. He was the hard-luck losing pitcher, falling to 3-6. Tristan Archer, Junior Rincon, Tayler Scott and Stephen Kohlscheen worked in relief.
Jacksonville pitcher Jake Esch raised his record to 9-6, tossing seven innings of shutout ball, yielding six hits and fanning three.
The Shuckers struck against relief pitcher Tyler Kinley in the eighth. Javier Betancourt led off with a walk. Tyrone Taylor walked and both moved up on a wild pitch. Brett Phillips grounded out to first, scoring Betancourt. Then Taylor scored on a wild throw by the first baseman. After Jacob
Nottingham walked, Drew Steckenrider came in and fanned two batters to end the rally.
Phillips went 2-for- 4 for the Shuckers with a triple and an RBI. He was the only Shuckers player with more than one hit.