Biloxi Shuckers

Shuckers can’t get bats to heat up against Birmingham in series-opening loss

Center fielder Johnny Davis had five hits against Jacksonville.
Center fielder Johnny Davis had five hits against Jacksonville.

The Biloxi Shuckers were unable to get their bats going against Jordan Stephens in their series opener against the Birmingham Barons, falling 4-1 at MGM Park on Thursday night.

Stephens (W, 1-2) stymied the Shuckers (9-12, 45-45) for a season-high 7.2 innings, allowing only five hits and striking out four batters. The Shuckers couldn't turn a leadoff double from Johnny Davis and subsequent single from Tyrone Taylor into a run in the first, setting the tone for the rest of the night.

Luis Ortiz (L, 3-5) got into trouble in the first, walking three batters to allow the game's first run. The righty allowed only three hits in 3.2 innings, but one was a solo home run to Keon Barnum in the fourth inning to give the Barons (8-13, 34-56) a 2-0 lead.

The Shuckers got 3.1 solid relief innings from Travis Hissong, who didn't allow a hit until his third inning of work. The Barons were able to bunch together a Mason Robbins RBI single and Hunter Jones RBI triple in the seventh, however, to extend their lead to 4-0.

Gabriel Noriega hit a solo home run in the eighth, his first of the year, to cut the deficit to 4-1. But Jake Johansen came in for a four-out save to lock down the Barons victory.

The series continues on Friday night as Jon Perrin faces off against Barons ace right-hander Michael Kopech. First pitch is at 6:35 pm with live coverage beginning at 6:15 pm on Cruisin’ WGCM AM-1240/FM-100.9 and the Shuckers Radio Network. The game will also be available at, MiLB.TV and TuneIn Radio.