In front of a Regions Field record 8,672 fans, the Biloxi Shuckers and Birmingham Barons played a thriller on Monday night. It took 12 innings, but Javier Betancourt’s two-run triple gave the Shuckers a 4-1 victory to take the series finale.
The Shuckers depart Birmingham the winners of four games in their rare six-game series. With the win and a Jacksonville loss, the Shuckers are just one game out of first place in the Southern League South in the season’s second half. Monday’s extra-inning contest was Biloxi’s league-leading 14th played this season, improving to 8-6 in those games.
The game was scoreless through six innings, as Corbin Burnes and Jordan Stephens matched zeroes. Burnes, entering with the lowest earned run average in minor league baseball, scattered five hits over six shutout innings with five strikeouts. His Double-A ERA dropped to 1.27 after the outing.
In the seventh, the Shuckers manufactured a run against Stephens with a Jacob Nottingham hit-by-pitch and subsequent Dustin DeMuth single to put runners on the corners. With one out, a Gabriel Noriega double play ball turned into a 1-0 lead when second baseman Jose Vinicio’s throw went wide to first to allow the run to score.
A similar strain of bad luck evened up the game in the bottom half of the inning, as Jorge López allowed a leadoff pop-up double to Trey Michalczewski that came home to score on a bloop two-out single from Jeff Gelalich. López worked a scoreless eighth, and Tayler Scott stranded runners on second and third in the ninth to send the game to extras.
Scott and Josh Uhen (W, 2-2) kept the Barons off the board until the 12th, when Betancourt’s two-run triple off Jace Fry (L, 0-1) put the Shuckers on top. Johnny Davis then squeezed Betancourt home for an insurance run to make the score 4-1. Betancourt finished the night 3-for-5 with the game-winning triple.
Matt Ramsey (S, 19) struck out the side in the bottom of the 12th to earn his league-leading 19th save of the season.
The Shuckers bus back to Biloxi after the game and start their patriotic-themed homestand against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Aaron Wilkerson gets the start for the Shuckers opposite Deck McGuire for the Blue Wahoos. The broadcast begins at 6:15 pm for a 6:35 first pitch 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.