Brandon Woodruff capped of an impressive 2016 campaign with seven innings of shutout baseball, as the former Mississippi State Bulldog helped the Biloxi Shuckers to a 7-0 victory over the Mississippi Braves on Sunday night at Trustmark Park.
The shutout issued by Woodruff and Tristan Archer was the 14th issued by Biloxi pitching this season, tying for the league-lead.
Woodruff became the first Shuckers’ pitcher to reach 10 wins on the season and leads all of Minor League Baseball with 173 strikeouts, after punching out nine on the night. The 23-year-old retired 15 consecutive batters from the second to the seventh inning, before Levi Hyams snapped the streak with an infield single.
Biloxi (32-37, 71-67) took advantage of a shaky defense in the first inning, leading to the first lead of the series for the Shuckers.
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Johnny Davis (1x5, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB) reached on an error by shortstop Reed Harper to start the game and stole second with Angel Ortega (2x5) at the dish. The Shuckers’ shortstop sent a single into left field that got through the legs of Stephen Gaylor in the outfield, allowing Davis to score for the 1-0 lead.
Jacob Nottingham (3x5, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2B) added an insurance run in the fourth with his 11th home run of the season to leadoff the inning and give Biloxi a 2-0 advantage.
The Shuckers’ backstop was at it again in the fifth with an RBI single to short in the fifth, bringing home Davis from third for the 3-0 lead.
Biloxi broke the game open with a three-spot in the sixth to take a commanding, 6-0 lead.
Dustin DeMuth (1x5, R, 2B) doubled to center to start the inning, and moved over to third on a single by Clint Coulter (3x4, 2 R, 2B). With runners at the corners, Tom Belza (1x3, 2 RBI, 2B) lifted a sacrifice fly to right, bringing home DeMuth to give the visitors a four-run lead.
Javier Betancourt (0x3, R) was hit by a pitch, leading to Woodruff’s a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position for Davis. The speedster smashed a ground ball through the right side, scoring Coulter and Betancourt for the 6-0 advantage.
Nottingham tried to extend a double into a triple with one out in the seventh, but was thrown out at third for the second out of the inning. The 21-year-old dug into the right-handed batter’s box a triple shy of the cycle in the eighth, and lined out to right for the second out of the frame.
Belza closed on the scoring for Biloxi with a double down the right field line, scoring Coulter all the way from first to make it 7-0. Coulter picked up his third hit of the game with a single to start the eighth.
Mississippi (39-29, 73-64) managed just one runner in scoring position against Woodruff (10-8). Connor Lien reached second in the second inning, but would be left stranded.
Tristan Archer tossed the final two innings and allowed two hits and walked a batter, but also added three strikeouts to his line.
Max Povse (4-1) suffered his first loss at the Double-A level with six runs (four earned) allowd on nine hits and six strikeouts in six innings of work.
Both teams wrap up the 2016 regular season in the finale of the five-game set at noon Monday afternoon at Trustmark Park. RHP Jorge Lopez (1-4, 4.24) takes the mound for the Shuckers against the Braves’ RHP Lucas Sims (5-4, 2.56).