BILOXI-- The Biloxi Shuckers and Mississippi Braves started their Friday night in a 23-minute rain delay.
The two teams waded through a one-hour, 53-minute delay at MGM Park, as the visiting Braves took game-four of the five-game series, 3-2. Friday's loss hands the Shuckers their third series defeat out of their last four sets, and gives Biloxi its first three-game losing streak at MGM Park this season.
For a third consecutive game, the Shuckers struck first against the Braves, using sacrifice fly by Garrett Cooper (0x2, RBI) to score Kyle Wren (0x3, R, BB) for the 1-0 lead.
Brett Phillips (1x2, 2B, 2 BB) doubled in the opening frame to extend his hitting streak to seven games. The 22-year-old outfielder joins Jacob Nottingham (1x4, HR, RBI, R) as the only Biloxi player to have at least a seven-game hitting streak during 2016.
For a third consecutive game, Biloxi's (30-24) lead would not last as Mississippi (25-29) again used a big inning to create separation from the home team.
Jorge Ortega (0-5) issued a walk to Matt Kennelly to lead off the frame. Rob Whalen moved the runner up to second with a sacrifice bunt. Mel Rojas, Jr. drove Kennelly home with a single to center to tie the game, and moved up to second on Phillips' home.
Levi Hyams followed with a walk to put two on for Dansby Swanson, and the Atlanta Braves' top prospect sent both men across the plate with a double to the gap in right-center to put the Shuckers in a two-run deficit.
Ortega would calm things down in the fourth, picking up two strikeouts while setting the side down in order for the first, and only time, on the night. The native of Venezuela worked out of a jam in the fifth after a one-out double by Rojas was followed by a single from Levi Hyams. The 22-year-old struck out Swanson and induced a groundout off the bat of Dustin Peterson to escape the inning.
The Shuckers' starter lasted five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts, while tossing a season-high 100 pitches (66 strikes).
Nottingham cranked out his sixth home run of the season with a blast over the wall in left to bring the Shuckers within a run at 3-2 in the seventh. Biloxi's backstop has four long balls over his last 13 games.
Rob Whalen (4-2) finished with a complete game after allowing just one run on three hits, two walks and seven strikeouts. The right-hander had multi-strikeout innings in the third (two), fourth (two) and sixth (two).
Brandon Cunniff (SV, 1) earned his first save of the season for Mississippi by surrendering two walks and a hit in the final two frames.
Biloxi will look to end the eight-game homestand on a high note in the series finale with Mississippi on Saturday night from MGM Park. LHP Wei-Chung Wang (2-2, 3.62) makes his first start since May 23 against the Tennessee Smokies for the Shuckers, while RHP Victor Mateo (0-1, 5.28) takes the mound for the Braves. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m