Biloxi Shuckers

Shuckers return to MGM Park with share of South Division

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/FILE 
 Shuckers' Adrian Houser pitches to the Lookouts during the second game of the Southern League Championship Series on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at MGM Stadium in Biloxi.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD/FILE Shuckers' Adrian Houser pitches to the Lookouts during the second game of the Southern League Championship Series on Thursday, September 17, 2015, at MGM Stadium in Biloxi. SUN HERALD

MOBILE, ALA. -- The Biloxi Shuckers split Thursday night's doubleheader with the Mobile BayBears, dropping game one, 7-2, and taking game two, 6-0 at Hank Aaron Stadium. The twin bill concluded the Shuckers' season-long 13-game road trip, with Biloxi coming away with a 5-8 record. The split, coupled with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos loss to the Birmingham Barons, puts the Shuckers in a tie for first place in the Southern League South division with Pensacola.

Both teams scored early in game one with Mobile striking first with a run in the opening frame thanks to Kevin Medrano's run-scoring double to the gap in left center, bringing Evan Marzilli all the way home from first to put Biloxi in a 1-0 hole.

The Shuckers countered with a two-spot in the second when Javier Betancourt (2x3, HR, 2 RBI, R) sent a two-run shot over the wall in left for his second home run of the season to give the Shuckers a 2-1 advantage.

Biloxi's starting pitcher Adrian Houser (2-5) sat down the side in order in the second and worked around back-to-back two-out singles in the third, but lost the lead in the fourth due to a two-out rally by Mobile.

Michael Perez singled to start the inning for the BayBears, but Gabriel Guerrero grounded out and Kevin Cron popped out. Houser hit Cody Regis and gave up a single to his counterpart Yoan Lopez to load the bases, setting up Marzilli's two-run infield single.

Mobile added on two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings to blow the game open to a five-run difference.

Houser allowed five of the seven runs in five innings on 10 hits, a walk and three strikeouts. The native of Oklahoma needed 80 pitches -- 55 strikes -- as the Shuckers fell to 3-6 in the right-hander's starts.

Lopez (4-3) tossed the first complete game of any kind against Biloxi in 2016, and first since Austin Pruitt of the Montgomery Biscuits accomplished the task on July 8, 2015. The 23-year-old also recorded his first career complete game, needing 90 pitches to work through the seven innings - 62 strikes - to go along with the two runs allowed on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

Biloxi (27-20) stranded two runners in each of the first two innings in game two, but finally broke through with a run in the third on Betancourt's (1x4) single to center, scoring Garrett Cooper (2x4, R, RBI) for the 1-0 lead.

The Shuckers blew the nightcap open in the fourth, as the visitors scored four times to gain a five-run advantage.

Rene Garcia (2x4, R) singled and scored on Brandon Macias' (2x4, R, 2B, RBI) double for the first run of the frame. Javi Salas put down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner to third, and Omar Garcia (1x4, 2 R, RBI) punched a single up the middle to bring home Macias. Kyle Wren (2x3, R, BB, SB) singled to put two runners on for Cooper. A wild pitch to the first baseman allowed the runners to advance a bag, as Cooper smacked a single to left to score Garcia and put Wren at third.

Victor Roache (2x3, RBI, BB) added the fourth run of the inning with a single to left to score wren and give the Shuckers a 5-0 lead.

Garcia would cross the plate again in the sixth thanks to a wild pitch to Roache, allowing the speedster to score from third to give Biloxi a six-run advantage.

Game two starter, Salas (3-1), made his first start since May 12 and came out strong, limiting the BayBears to just three hits over 5.2 innings of shutout ball. The 24-year-old walked just one batter and struck out four; needing 92 pitches - 56 strikes - to pick up his third win of the season. Biloxi improved to 7-1 when the Coral Gables, Fla. native starts.

Daniel Tillman took over out of the bullpen and retired walked the first man he faced in Guerrero, and allowed a one-out single to Gabriel Noriega in the seventh, but did not allow any runs to cross to lock down the Shuckers' sixth shut out of the season.

Former big leaguer Billy Buckner (0-1) made the spot-start for Mobile, lasting 3.1 and allowing five runs - four earned - on 10 hits, a walk and five strikeouts.

The series transitions over to MGM Park for the final three games starting Friday night. RHP Jorge Ortega (0-4, 4.46) looks for his first win of the season for Biloxi, as RHP Matt Koch (0-2, 3.38) takes the mound for Mobile. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., with coverage starting at 6:50 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 milb.tv.

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