Biloxi Shuckers

Gabriel Guerrero does nice impression of uncle, Vladimir, with 2 3-run homers


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JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDBiloxi Shuckers Manager Mike Guerrero, right, and coach Sandy Guerrero wait for the start of the teams opening game of the season at MGM Park in Biloxi on Thursday April 7, 2016.
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALDBiloxi Shuckers Manager Mike Guerrero, right, and coach Sandy Guerrero wait for the start of the teams opening game of the season at MGM Park in Biloxi on Thursday April 7, 2016. SUN HERALD

BILOXI – Gabriel Guerrero did quite the impression of his future Hall-of-Famer uncle, Vladimir, Wednesday night at MGM Park.

Gabriel Guerrero had a .111 batting average entering Wednesday night, but his early struggles at the plate are a distant memory after Mobile's 9-3 win over the Shuckers. The native of the Dominican Republic hit two three-run home runs for six RBIs on a 3-for-4 night at the plate.

“It's been a rough start, but I'm starting to feel good,” the right fielder said. “That gave me a breather. Hopefully, everything keeps going good.”

His first homer was a third-inning line drive that rattled off the video board in left.

“Yeah, I got that pretty good,” he said with a smile. “I tried to look for a good pitch and tried to drive it. That's all I tried to do.”

His second three-run bomb easily cleared the right field fence in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach for the Shuckers at 9-2.

“Sometimes, it just happens,” Gabriel Guerrero said. “I saw a pitch away and I just go with the pitch.”

Vladimir Guerrero spent 16 years in the majors, batting .318 with 449 homers.

Gabriel Guerrero, 22, is in his fifth year in the minors and has a .276 career average with 45 homers.

The Shuckers finished their seven-game homestand to begin the season with a record of 5-2. They are in a three-way tie for first in the Southern League South with Jacksonville and Pensacola.

“I take it one day at a time,” Shuckers manager Mike Guerrero said. “We didn't have too much pitching available. We did what we can. They did what's necessary and took advantage of big counts and didn't miss it.”

Wednesday night's crowd was 1,219 at MGM Park.

Mobile right-hander Yoan Lopez (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits in six innings to get the win. He struck out two and walked three.

Shuckers starting pitcher Javier Salas (1-1) allowed four runs on five hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked three.

“He just ran big counts,” Mike Guerrero said of Salas. “Once we run big counts, hitters can just sit. They had good pitches and took advantage. He had a couple of walks and a 3-run homer. It was a 3-1 count to a fastball hitter. He fell behind in the count and (Gabriel Guerrero) took advantage.”

After Gabriel Guerrero's first 3-run bomb, the Shuckers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth after Nate Orf was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Brett Phillips followed with a double down the right field line.

Jacob Nottingham pushed home Orf on a grounder to shortstop Ildemaro Vargas, who threw Phillips out at third.

Javier Betancourt later brought home Nottingham on a single through the left side of the infield to set the score at 3-2 after four innings.

Mobile stretched its lead to 4-2 in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to right field by Gabriel Noriega to score Kevin Cron from third.

The BayBears put the game to rest with five runs in the seventh inning.

The Shuckers travel to Mobile (4-3) for a 6:35 p.m. game on Thursday at Hank Aaron Stadium. It will be the first of a three-game series in Mobile.

Right-hander Adrian Houser (0-1, 10.50) will be the starting pitcher for the Shuckers and right-hander Matt Koch (0-1, 1.29) will go for the BayBears.

Rare occurrence: There were a pair of double plays that originated in the outfield in the first inning. Shuckers left fielder Kyle Wren caught a hard hit liner and and threw to second to catch Jamie Westbrook off the bag for the double play to end the top of the first.

In the bottom of the first, Biloxi's Kyle Wren flew out to right fielder Gabriel Guerrero, who caught Orf off first base to end the inning.

Favre apperance: NFL and Southern Miss legend Brett Favre will throw out the first pitch for Sunday's 1:10 p.m. Biloxi-Pensacola game at MGM Park. Sunday will be Favre 4 Hope Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the ballpark.