MOBILE – The Biloxi Shuckers had opportunities to take a late lead over the Mobile BayBears, but a walk-off wild pitch, with the bases loaded in the ninth was the difference in the 4-3 loss on Monday night at Hank Aaron Stadium.
The defeat marks the third consecutive series that the Shuckers have dropped the first two games, with Biloxi winning the final three contests in each of the previous two sets.
Martin Viramontes (0-1) took the mound to start the ninth and permitted a leadoff single to Mark Thomas. A sacrifice bunt by Tom Belza moved the runner into scoring position. An infield single by Evan Marzilli and a walk to Jack Reinheimer loaded the bases for Zach Borenstein, who hit a sharp liner to Nathan Orf at third for the second out. With Garrett Weber at the plate, a wild pitch by Viramontes allowed Thomas to score from third for the winning run.
Monday was just the second time the Shuckers have been walked off against in their inaugural season.
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Adrian Houser, making his Shuckers and Brewers’ organization debut started the bottom of the first by striking out the first batter he faced in Marzilli, and scattered four hits in the first five innings while striking out five.
Mobile (23-13) tied things up at three with a one-out, three-run home run by Socrates Brito. Houser struck out Raul Navarro for his final out of the game before being replaced in a double switch for Jed Bradley. Houser came over from Houston last Thursday in a trade that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros.
The 22-year-old allowed three runs on seven hits, no walks and six strikeouts. The former second-round pick becomes the first Biloxi starter to toss more than five innings and not walk a batter since Tyler Wagner accomplished the feat on July 1 against the Mississippi Braves.
Biloxi (16-18) offered Milwaukee Brewers’ fans a glimpse of the future with a two-out rally in the third to grab the early lead. Orlando Arcia’s double followed a walk to Brett Phillips to bring home the first run of the game for the Shuckers. Arcia swiped third for his first stolen base of the game with Orf at the plate, who promptly tripled to center to give Biloxi a 2-0 lead.
A two-out walk to Arcia sparked another rally in the fifth, as the 20-year-old stole second and came around to score on a single by Orf for a 3-0 advantage over the BayBears. Arcia extended his hitting streak to six games and has five steals over his last four games, moving him up to 20 on the season.
The Shuckers had a chance to retake the lead in the eighth with a leadoff single by Arcia and a walk to Orf, but back-to-back strikeouts to Nick Ramirez and Victor Roache made two outs before Tyrone Taylor flew out to right field to end the threat.
Biloxi will look to avoid dropping the series at Mobile on Tuesday night after back-to-back one-run losses. Newcomer LHP Josh Hader (0-0, --) will make his first start as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization after coming over in the same trade that brought Houser and Phillips over from Houston. Mobile will send out RHP Yoan Lopez (1-4, 3.46), who will be making his third start of the season against the Shuckers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m.