MOBILE - The Biloxi Shuckers streak of 35 consecutive days of being in first place in the Southern League South came to an end Wednesday night, as the visitors dropped game one of a six-game set with the Mobile BayBears, 9-1, at Hank Aaron Stadium.
The defeat is the fourth time in five attempts the Shuckers have opened a series with a loss in May, and places the team three games under .500 in the second month of the 2016 season with a record of 10-13.
Mobile (20-25) jumped on Biloxi (26-19) starter Brandon Woodruff for three runs in the first inning to put the Shuckers in an early, 3-0 deficit.
Evan Marzilli doubled to open things and moved to third on Ildemaro Vargas' sacrifice bunt. Kevin Medrano drove the runner home with a sharp single to center for the first run of the inning. Mitch Haniger singled to right to put two on for Stewart Ijames, who bounced into a fielder's choice, giving the BayBears runners on the corners and two outs.
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Ronnie Freeman doubled over the head of Tyrone Taylor (1x4) to center, plating two base runners to put Biloxi down three.
The Shuckers scratched a run across in the fourth when Nick Shaw (1x3, RBI) lifted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Nick Ramirez (1x3) from third to bring Biloxi within three.
Mobile answered with a run in the bottom half when John Omahen singled to left with two outs, bringing home Freeman from second to bring the difference back to three runs.
Woodruff (0-2) finished his second Double-A outing on a strong note, striking out the final two batters in the fifth for his second one-two-three frame. Over five innings, the right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts on 92 pitches - 64 strikes.
Tyler Spurlin took over for Woodruff to start the sixth and allowed the first two batters to reach before striking out Kevin Cron for the first out of the inning. A free pass to Jamie Westbrook loaded the bases for Omahen, and a wild pitch allowed Ijames to score from third for the fifth run of the game for Mobile.
Omahen reached on a fielder's choice to put runners at the corners, setting up Marzilli's RBI knock to center to put the Shuckers down by five.
Jed Bradley allowed an inherited runner to score on Marzilli's run-scoring single to center to stretch the BayBear's lead to five. The Shuckers' reliever worked a perfect seventh before allowing three runs to cross in the eighth, capped by Marzilli's first home run of the season, a two-run shot over the wall in right.
Omahen (3-4) fought off any signs of life from the Biloxi offense from the mound, inducing three inning-ending double plays on the night. The 27-year-old came two outs shy of becoming the first pitcher to toss a complete game against the Shuckers in 2016, and first since Austin Pruitt of the Montgomery Biscuits accomplished the task on July 8, 2015. The right-hander allowed one run on eight hits, two walks and five strikeouts on 109 pitches - 70 strikes.
Adam Miller relieved the BayBears' starter with two on and one out in the ninth and gave up an infield single to Javier Betancourt (3x4) to load the bases, but Brandon Macias (0x4) struck out to end the game.
The two teams meet for a doubleheader at 5:05 p.m. Thursday night from Hank Aaron Stadium. RHP Adrian Houser (2-4, 6.38) looks to build off of his second quality start of the season in game one for Biloxi, while it has yet to be determined who will take the mound in game two for the Shuckers. RHP Zach Godley (2-5, 3.83) will toe the rubber in the first game for Mobile, with RHP Yoan Lopez (3-3, 4.01) going for the BayBears in the nightcap.