BILOXI – New Shuckers right-hander Javi Salas appears set to make a quick adjustment to Double-A.
Salas allowed one run on two hits and struck out eight while walking none in 5 2/3 innings Friday night to pick up the win in Biloxi's 6-2 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts.
Biloxi holds a 2-0 lead in the season's opening series thanks to some impressive pitching. The Shuckers' hurlers have allowed only seven hits through 18 innings after the Lookouts picked up only four Friday night.
Salas didn't allow a hit until Lookouts designated hitter Stuart Turner, a former Ole Miss standout, doubled to start the sixth inning.
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“I felt good. I felt prepared, ready to go,” Salas said. “I had a good spring and I just wanted to carry it over to my first start. I used my defense a lot. I tried to get everyone involved a little. They played great behind me today and I just kept the game flowing.”
Salas, a University of Miami product, was 8-8 with a 4.13 ERA in 24 appearances, 22 starts, a year ago at Class A Brevard County (Fla.).
Salas kept the Lookouts frustrated through the first five innings as the Chattanooga dugout constantly harassed home plate umpire Skyler Shown.
“They were a little chirpy. (Shown) was giving me a low strike zone and that's perfect for me,” Salas said. “I wasn't complaining.
“I'm a sinker guy. My sinker felt good in the bullpen so I threw it a bunch today. They hit some balls into the ground. That's my game.”
Salas said he didn't shake off catcher Jacob Nottingham the entire night.
“He was awesome today,” Nottingham said. “He was commanding all three of his pitches and kept a great pace. I think he threw the ball as good as he could have. I thought he did tremendous.”
The attendance for Friday night's game was 2,439.
For the second consecutive night, the Shuckers put up a three-spot in the first inning.
Nate Orf and Brett Phillips had back-to-back doubles with one out to push across the first run and Nottingham followed with a two-run blast to deep center for his first homer as a Shucker to make it 3-0.
The homer was Nottingham's first hit for Biloxi.
“I knew I hit it good,” Nottingham said. “I didn't know how far or what it was going to do, but it felt great. It's good to get that first hit, even better that it's a home run.”
Nottingham also homered to center in Saturday's exhibition game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I'm trying to hit in the gaps. I don't want to think about pulling the ball,” Nottingham said. “If I'm hitting it (to center), everything is going good.
Chattanooga ended a 14-inning scoreless streak to start the series on an RBI groundout by Zach Granite to score Turner with two out in the sixth.
Chattanooga catcher Mitch Garver hit a solo homer to right to cut the Biloxi lead to 3-2 in the top of the seventh, but Biloxi's Victor Roache answered with his own solo homer to right in the bottom of the inning to push the Shuckers' advantage to 4-2.
Brett Phillips added some cushion to the Biloxi lead in the eighth when the left-handed batter went opposite field with a two-run homer over the left field wall.
“Our guys swing it. We're not scared to do that,” Nottingham said. “We're going to put together good at-bats and try to be hard outs. If you put the ball in play, good things will happen.”
Chattanooga starting pitcher D.J. Baxendale (0-1) settled in after the rough first inning, holding the Shuckers scoreless over the next five innings.
Baxendale, a former Arkansas star, allowed three runs on six hits in six innings, striking out five and and walking none.
Biloxi reliever Daniel Tillman registered a hold, giving up one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked none.
Jaye Chapman pitched a perfect ninth in his first appearance of the season for Biloxi.
The Shuckers will host the Lookouts (0-2) for game three at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday.
Right-hander Adrian Houser will get the start for Biloxi and Chattanooga will go with left-hander David Hurlbut.