Sights and sounds of baseball fill MGM Park
BILOXI - The Milwaukee Brewers left MGM Park with a 7-4 win over the Biloxi Shuckers Saturday at MGM Park and proved gracious guests on their short visit.
Hundreds of fans lined up for autographs and the Brewers accommodated each one.
The Brewers' biggest star, Ryan Braun, hung around well after the pregame autograph session ended to sign memorabilia for fans behind home plate.
One fan welcomed him to Mississippi and he responded, 'Thanks, I wish we had a longer stay."
The Brewers left for Milwaukee immediately after the game to prepare for their Monday season opener against the San Francisco Giants, but had a positive impressive of Biloxi in their brief stay.
"It's beautiful. It really is," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of MGM Park. "I've been to quite a few minor league facilities. From a clubhouse perspective, being in the visiting clubhouse, you've outdone Wrigley Field, I know that. It's a beautiful place and a great place for the players who get to play here and spend a summer."
The crowd of 5,152 got their money's worth on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Braun, who is entering his 10th season with the team, made his presence known in the bottom of the third with a solo homer to straightaway center field.
The Brewers tacked on two more homers, including a solo shot by Domingo Santana in the third inning.
A light moment came in the eighth when Brewers assistant coach Jason Lane, a former power hitter for the Houston Astros in the mid 2000's, lifted a ball over the left center wall for a home run.
Teammates gave Lane the silent treatment when he returned the dugout, but soon mobbed the 39-year-old Lane.
For the younger Shuckers, it was a chance to compete against their big league brothers.
"That was awesome, playing against a team hopefully I have a future playing for," Biloxi center fielder Brett Phillips said. "Coming out here in front of an awesome atmosphere, this is what it's all about."
Phillips had a nice day, going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run - a shot to right center in the sixth inning.
"It was a rough day up until then, two strikeouts and the second at-bat I didn't even swing the bat," Phillips said. "I was a little rattled, but I buckled down and I didn't try do too much. I got a great pitch to hit on the inner half and I was able to put a good swing on it. It went out so I was very excited for that."
Biloxi's other top hitting prospect, Jacob Nottingham, had a nice debut at MGM Park with a 2-for-4 effort, including a solo homer to left center in the fourth inning.
Nottingham, who was acquired in February from the Oakland A's, had a lengthy stay with the Brewers in spring training that should pay off for him this season in Biloxi.
"It was awesome. I was just learning from the older guys," Nottingham said. "They were just teaching the game and how to go about it. I learned a lot from the catchers, (Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado). They were awesome. I'm just trying to take that into my game and play the best game I can."
Right-hander Chase Anderson picked up the win for the Brewers, giving up two runs on four hits in 5 innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Right-hander Jorge Ortega took the loss for Biloxi, giving up four runs on five hits in five innings.
Aaron Hill and Keon Broxton were the lone Brewers with multiple hits, each earning a pair of hits.
Nathan Orf, Phillips and Nottingham all had two hits a piece.
The Shuckers play an exhibition game against Jackson State at 6:40 p.m. on Monday before opening the regular season at 6:40 p.m. on Thursday against the Chattanooga Lookouts.