CHATTANOOGA-- The Biloxi Shuckers earned their second consecutive victory, 5-4, over the Chattanooga Lookouts on Wednesday morning at AT&T Field. The win ensures that Biloxi will remain in first place with at least a ½ game lead in the Southern League South Division for a 30th consecutive day. The Shuckers, on Wednesday also improved to 9-3 in one-run games. The Shuckers finished the first leg of the 13-game road trip, 2-3 at Chattanooga.
Victor Roache (1x4, HR, R, RBI) blasted his fourth home run of the season over the wall in left center to give the Shuckers an early 1-0 lead in the first, but the Lookouts answered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame.
Shannon Wilkerson started things off with a single to left and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Granite. D.J. Hicks drove the runner home two batters later, with a single to left to knot the game at one. Joe Maloney cracked a double to center to drive the runner home from first to bring home the go-ahead run.
Chattanooga plated another run in the third on Hicks' second RBI single of the game, this time bringing home Granite, to put Biloxi in a two-run deficit.
Garrett Cooper (2x4, R) started a one-out rally in the fourth that saw the Shuckers tie things up with the Lookouts. Nick Ramirez (1x4, R, RBI, 3B) followed Cooper with a booming triple to the wall in straightaway center to score the runner and bring the visitors within a run. Tyrone Taylor (2x4, RBI) singled to center to plate Ramirez and square the contest at four.
Shuckers' starting pitcher Wei-Chung Wang started his third education day of the season and did his part to keep his club in the game. In five innings, the lefty allowed three runs on eight hits, a walk and two strikeouts, while needing 92 pitches - 57 strikes - in the no decision.
Kyle Wren (1x3, 2 RBI) gave Biloxi the lead in the seventh with a two-run single to center against reliever Jake Reed (3-2). Taylor started the inning with a single to right, and Nick Shaw (0x3, R) was hit by a pitch to put the first two runners on for the Shuckers. Chris McFarland (0x4, R) bunted into a fielder's choice, erasing Taylor off the base paths and Javier Betancourt (1x4) grounded out to third to move the runners.
Wren brought the runners home with his first hit of the game to extend his hitting streak to six games. The outfielder has now reached safely in 10 of his last 12 games.
Hobbs Johnson (1-0) worked a scoreless frame in the sixth, but ran into trouble in the seventh. The southpaw retired Granite on a fly out to left field, but walked Travis Harrison, gave up a single to Hicks, issued a free pass to Maloney to load the bases. Ryan Walker drove a single to left to move the runners station-to-station and cut the Shuckers' lead to one.
Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero called on Tristan Archer (SV, 1) to clean up the inning, and the righty responded by inducing a double play off the bat of Leo Reginatto to escape the inning with the lead intact.
The 25-year-old worked a perfect eighth, but hit a bit of a jam in the ninth. A one-out single by Harrison put the tying run on base for Hicks, who popped out for the second out. A double off the third-base bag by Maloney put the tying run at third and go-ahead run at second for Walker, but Archer was able to get the second baseman on a fly out to center to secure this first save of the season.
Biloxi now heads north on I-75 to Kodak, Tenn. to face off against the Tennessee Smokies for a five-game series that begins Thursday night at Smokies Stadium. RHP Brandon Woodruff (0-0, 0.00) makes his first career Double-A start for the Shuckers on Thursday after starting the year with the Milwaukee Brewers' High-A affiliate, Brevard County Manatees. LHP Rob Zastryzny (2-2, 4.02) takes the mound for Tennessee for the 6:05 p.m. start.