Biloxi Shuckers

Smokies take opener over Shuckers

 Biloxi catcher Jacob Nottingham's bat shatters as he swings against Pensacola, Sunday, Apr. 17, 2016.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Biloxi catcher Jacob Nottingham's bat shatters as he swings against Pensacola, Sunday, Apr. 17, 2016.

The Biloxi Shuckers continued their season-long 13-game road trip on Thursday night and fell to the Tennessee Smokies at Smokies Stadium, 7-2. The Shuckers dropped to 2-4 on the road trip and are now in a first place tie, atop the South Division standings with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, who were postponed by rain in Jacksonville tonight.

Booneville native, and former Mississippi State pitcher Brandon Woodruff (L, 0-1) made his Double-A debut on Thursday night and suffered the loss, allowing four runs on five hits over 4+ innings. Woodruff threw 88 pitches and used 31 of those in the first inning.

Woodruff walked Chicago Cubs rehabbing outfielder Mat Szczur on four straight pitches to open the bottom of the first, and then a single from Chesny Young. After a strikeout of Mark Zagunis, the 23-year-old surrendered an RBI groundout from Jeimer Candelario scoring Szczur and then an RBI single by Billy McKinney that plated Young to give Tennessee a 2-1 lead.

The Shuckers scored their run in the top of the first inning on the fourth home run of the season from Jacob Nottingham. The 21-year-old's one out, solo blast to left was his second long ball in his last three games.

Woodruff settled into a rhythm on the mound after the long first inning, but ran into more trouble in the fifth. Woodruff walked the leadoff hitter Jacob Hannemann and then gave up a single to Young which ended his outing. Manager Mike Guerrero summoned left-handed reliever Jed Bradley. The Smokies greeted the new hurler with three consecutive hits, which included a triple by Billy McKinney. He would score on a throwing error by Chris McFarland. The Smokies jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the five-run fifth inning.

Tennessee starter Rob Zastryzny tossed a season-high 7 2/3 innings and struck out a season-high eight batters, earning his third win. The lefty retired 16 straight Shuckers from the first to the seventh inning.

Tyrone Taylor broke the streak with a one out single in the top of the seventh and then scored on a double by McFarland. That would be the final tally of the night. Taylor has a three-game hitting streak. Leadoff hitter Kyle Wren (0x4) saw his four-game hitting streak end on Thursday night.

Daniel Tillman was reinstated from the disabled list on Thursday morning and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning with a strikeout, needing just eight pitches -- seven were strikes. The outing was his first since April 16 at Mobile. Omar Garcia was transferred to Biloxi from Brevard County on Thursday and the 22-year-old notched a pinch hit single in the eighth inning for his first Double-A hit.

The Shuckers continue their road trip on Friday night with game two of the five-game series at Smokies Stadium. RHP Adrian Houser (2-4, 7.18) makes his eighth start of the season for Biloxi against the Cubs' top pitching prospect RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (0-1, 4.76) for Tennessee. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m., with coverage starting at 5:45 p.m. on the Biloxi Shuckers' Radio Network's flagship station WGCM 1240 AM, 100.9 FM, Pascagoula's WPMO 1580 AM and the TuneIn Radio app. The contest can also be seen on

The Shuckers return to MGM Park, May 27-June 4 to face the Mobile BayBears and Mississippi Braves.