CHATTANOOGA--The Biloxi Shuckers outhit the Chattanooga Lookouts for a second consecutive day, but came up short in a 2-1 pitchers' duel on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Field.
The loss places the Shuckers in a tie for first place in the Southern League South division at the conclusion of the contest, and could put the team out of first place for the first time since April 18, pending the result of Sunday's game between the Mississippi Braves and Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
Neither team mustered much offense in the early going, with only one hit combined through the first two innings, but it was the Shuckers who broke into the scoring column first in the third.
Brandon Macias (2x3, R, 2 2B) broke up Nick Greenwood's early no-hit bid with a one-out double down the line in right, and advanced to third on Rene Garcia's grounder through the right side to give Biloxi runners at the corners for Brett Phillips (0x3, RBI). The 21-year-old bounced into a fielder's choice to third, allowing Macias to score for the one-run advantage.
Shuckers' starter Jorge Ortega cruised through the first five innings, as the 22-year-old allowed just one hit, but relinquished the 1-0 lead with back-to-back two-out doubles in the sixth.
Daniel Palka snapped a streak of 12 consecutive batters without a hit against Ortega with the first double to the wall in left. Travis Harrison poked a two-bagger down the first-base line to score the runner from second and tie the game at one apiece.
Chattanooga (17-20) grabbed the late lead in the seventh with a one-out triple to right off the bat of Ryan Walker, ending the day for Ortega. Tyler Spurlin took over for Ortega and allowed a run-scoring single from Joe Maloney to put Biloxi (22-14) in a one-run deficit.
Ortega (0-4) pitched well enough to earn the win, but ultimately suffered his fourth loss of the season. In a season-high 6.1 innings, the right-hander allowed both of the Lookouts' runs on four hits, a walk and three strikeouts. The Shuckers have dropped the starter's last four starts.
Brett Lee worked the ninth for Biloxi and allowed just one base runner on a walk.
Greenwood (1-0) tossed a season-high for an opposing pitcher against Biloxi with eight innings of one-run ball on six hits and three strikeouts. Greenwood was making his second start as a member of the Twins' organization after making 20 MLB appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals the past two seasons. Omar Bencomo (SV, 1) earned his first save of the season for Chattanooga, despite allowing two hits in the ninth inning.
The Shuckers will try to avoid dropping their second series of the season in game three against the Lookouts at AT&T Field at 6:15 p.m. LHP Josh Hader (1-1, 1.04) takes the mound for Biloxi, while LHP David Hurlbut (2-2, 6.48) toes the rubber for Chattanooga.