Biloxi Shuckers game means screaming good time
BILOXI - Closer Jaye Chapman is still unhittable and the Shuckers' pitching staff again showed its depth on Wednesday.
Hobbs Johnson and Chapman quelled Pensacola's attempt at a ninth-inning rally as Biloxi earned a 5-2 win before a large crowd of local students at MGM Park
Chapman picked up his sixth save of the season by striking out the only batter he faced, Alex Blandino, with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth.
Chapman has retired all 19 batters he has faced this season.
"That's why he's the stopper," Shuckers manager Mike Guerrero said. "We have confidence in his ability to throw strikes. He's commanding his secondary pitches and he's attacking the strike zone. You've got to tip your hat to him for what he's been doing. He's been pretty solid for our bullpen."
The Shuckers (10-3) have won three straight games to take first place in the Southern League South, holding a 1 ½-game lead on second-place Pensacola (9-5).
Drew Gagnon, who made his first start of the season, was solid in a scoreless 4 1/3-inning outing. He allowed one hit, three walks and struck out five.
Gagnon, who threw 72 pitches, has yet to allow a run in 10 1/3 innings this season.
"He threw the ball outstanding," Guerrero said. "We planned a spot start for him. Our bullpen has been pretty good. We've used them a lot the last five days. They've done a pretty good job."
Steve Peterson (3-0), Gagnon's replacement with 2 out in the fifth, picked up his third win of the season out of the bullpen. He threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings, giving up one hit, walking none and striking out two.
Peterson has also yet to allow a run this season in 7 2/3 innings.
The Shuckers announced a sell-out crowd of 6,098 on Education Day as busloads of kids from area schools made their way to MGM Park for the 10:40 a.m. first pitch. The crowd was the second largest in the stadium's two-year history.
Biloxi outfielder Victor Roache continues to warm up at the plate with a 3-for-4 day on Wednesday. He had a pair of doubles, one RBI and two runs scored.
The former Georgia Southern star has six hits in his last eight at-bats with three runs scored, increasing his batting average to .333 after a slow start to the season.
"It's just me and (hitting coach Sandy Guerrero) working everyday," Roaches said. "I've just been working on putting myself in the best position to put the bat on the ball. I'm starting to feel comfortable up there and hopefully I can just keep rolling."
The Shuckers took a 2-0 lead in the second when Chris McFarland's infield RBI single scored Brandon Macias, who started things off with one-out single, and Rene Garcia pushed across Roache, who reached on a one-out double, on a groundout.
Nick Shaw added an RBI double in the fifth inning to make it 3-0.
In the eighth inning, Roache came up with an RBI double and Garcia knocked in his second run of the game on a single.
Shuckers reliever Martin Viramontes loaded the bases with none out in the top of the ninth, but Johnson and Chapman combined to hold the Wahoos to a pair of runs.
The Shuckers will go with left-hander Wei-Chung Wang (1-0, 2.45) as the starting pitcher in Thursday's 6:40 p.m. game at MGM Park. Pensacola will counter with right-hander Rookie Davis (2-0, 0.82).