Luis Ortiz turned in a career-high seven innings and for the second straight game, the Biloxi Shuckers rode their starting pitcher to a 5-4 victory on Tuesday. Their win over Pensacola brought the Shuckers to within two games of the first-place Blue Wahoos in the season’s 100th game.
The win brought the Shuckers (13-18, 49-51) record to 2-4 on the road trip and to 8-8 against Pensacola this season, 5-1 at Blue Wahoos Stadium.
Ortiz (W, 4-5) backed up 6.0 one-hit innings at Mississippi last week with seven four-hit frames and one run allowed at Pensacola (15-16, 55-46), marking the longest sustained stretch of success in the righty’s Brewers career. Ortiz struck out a season-high seven in his first start since being named Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect by MLB.com. It was the most strikeouts for Ortiz since fanning eight while with Advanced-A High Desert (TEX) on April 18, 2016 vs. Inland Empire. The win was his first in seven outings, having last won on May 27 vs. Mobile.
Clint Coulter delivered the first two runs of support off Wahoos starter Keury Mella (L, 2-8), bringing in Dustin DeMuth with an RBI groundout in the second and hitting his team-leading 12th home run of the season in the fifth. Coulter’s 39 runs batted in also pace the Shuckers.
In the sixth, Gabriel Noriega drove in Blake Allemand with a two-out single to extend the lead to 3-0. Angel Ortega made the Wahoos pay for a two-out error in the seventh with a home run into Pensacola Bay to make the score 5-0. With two more homers on Tuesday, Biloxi has 22 in July, ranking second behind Montgomery in the Southern League.
Ortiz’s night came to an end in the eighth after an Aristedes Aquino leadoff home run and subsequent Shed Long single. Ortiz had retired 21 of the first 23 batters and faced through his first seven frames. Tayler Scott got out of the eighth without further damage, but Jorge Lopez ran into trouble in the ninth. He allowed a two-run home run to Gabriel Guerrero and an RBI single to Shed Long, but was able to retire Joe Hudson on a hard line drive right back to the pitcher’s mound with the tying run on third to end the game.
Allemand, Noriega, and Coulter had two hits apiece to lead the nine-hit offensive performance on Tuesday.
The Shuckers can make it three wins in a row on Wednesday as Jon Perrin faces off against Blue Wahoos righty Jesus Reyes. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. with live coverage beginning at 6:15 p.m. on Cruisin’ WGCM AM-1240/FM-100.9 and the Shuckers Radio Network. The game will also be available at biloxishuckers.com, MiLB.TV and TuneIn Radio.
The Shuckers will return to MGM Park on Sunday for a five-game series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance at any Ticketmaster outlet or