Biloxi Shuckers

Ponce’s debut sparks Shuckers

Angel Ortega helped the Shuckers beat Mobile Friday.
Angel Ortega helped the Shuckers beat Mobile Friday. Biloxi Shuckers

Cody Ponce was brilliant in his Double-A debut on Friday night, leading the Biloxi Shuckers to a 4-0 victory over the Mobile BayBears at MGM Park.

Ponce (1-0) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and faced the minimum through six in his first start since being promoted from Advanced-A Carolina earlier in the week. The righty allowed just one walk and one hit over 6.0 shutout innings to earn the win.

Despite the victory, the Shuckers lost a half-game in the standings to first-place Jacksonville after a Jumbo Shrimp doubleheader sweep against Birmingham.

The Shuckers are four games out of first with 10 games remaining as they welcome the Jumbo Shrimp to MGM Park for their final home series of the regular season. The BayBears come into MGM Park and take three of five from the Shuckers. The two clubs will meet again for five more games next Thursday at Hank Aaron Stadium to close out the regular season.

Biloxi scratched across an unearned run in the second after Troy Stokes Jr. singled and came around to score on a grounder that BayBears first baseman Matt Thaiss couldn't handle. Mobile starter Luis Peña (1-1) was effective through 4.1 innings, but saw one of his runners come around to score on a Jake Gatewood RBI fielder's choice in the fifth inning to give the Shuckers a 2-0 lead.

After stranding 10 runners on base through the first six innings, the Shuckers finally broke through with a clutch hit from Clint Coulter in the seventh inning. The right fielder laced a two-out, two-run double to left-center that doubled Biloxi's lead to 4-0.

Jorge Lopez got out of a jam in the seventh inning, and Nick Ramirez did the same in the eighth to keep the BayBears off the board. The lefty came back out for the ninth and set Mobile down to lock up the Shuckers victory.

In the game, Johnny Davis stole two more bases to give him a league-leading total of 43 for the season. With two hits, Angel Ortega extended his hitting streak to five games.