The Biloxi Shuckers greeted the Jacksonville Suns to MGM Park for the first time ever on Monday night, and gave their South Division rival a 9-1 drubbing in front of a crowd of 2,001 on "Bark in the Park" night. The Shuckers set season-highs with hits (16) and extra-base hits (8) in the opening game of the series.
Jacksonville (13-18) grabbed the early lead in the first as Yefri Perez lined a double to left to start the game. The speedster advanced to third on a groundout by Peter Mooney, and scored on J.T. Riddles' grounder to short to put the Shuckers in a 1-0 deficit. The Suns would not score again.
Biloxi (19-11) took advantage of a one-out walk to Tyrone Taylor. Nick Shaw punched a single through the right side to score Taylor, who stole second, and tie the game.
The Shuckers erupted for four runs in the third to pull ahead and never looked back.
Kyle Wren, who went 4-for-5, started things off with a hard-hit single to left field and advanced all the way to third on a single by Jacob Nottingham. Garrett Cooper gave Biloxi the lead with a two-run double to left to make it a 3-1 game. Cooper doubled twice on Monday.
Wren set a new high for hits in a game this season for Biloxi with the four-hit night. The 25-year-old also becomes the first Shucker to record a four-hit game at MGM Park.
Taylor singled to right to put runners on the corners for Shaw, who lifted a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Cooper and moved Taylor up to second. Javier Betancourt (3x4, R, RBI) singled to put runners on the corners again, and Brandon Macias drove home Taylor with an infield single to give Biloxi a four-run cushion.
Three more runs came across for Biloxi to blow the game wide open in the fifth as Adrian Houser added an RBI triple off the wall in left center to score Betancourt from first and give the Shuckers a 7-1 lead. Wren followed with a run-scoring single to pad onto the lead and make in an eight-run advantage for the home team.
Houser (2-3) displayed arguably his best outing of the season on Monday night. The right-hander set down 11 consecutive batters after issuing a leadoff walk to Jake Esch (4-3) in the third, and left after a season high six innings of work. The Oklahoma native allowed just the one run on three hits, one walk and five strikeouts on 89 pitches - 69 strikes. Brooks Hall was added to Biloxi's roster just prior to first pitch and picked up a three-inning save, allowing just two hits and no runs.
Wren tripled and scored in the eighth on a ground out by Phillips to give the Shuckers their ninth run of the game.
The Shuckers look for the two-game advantage against the Suns in game two of the five-game series on Tuesday night. RHP Jorge Ortega (0-2 2.60) looks for his first win of the season for Biloxi, as LHP Jarlin Garcia (0-2, 4.80) seeks his first win for Jacksonville.