MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Josh Hader continued his dominance over the Southern League on Monday night at Riverwalk Stadium, as the Biloxi Shuckers' ace limited the Montgomery Biscuits to just one run on four hits, while tying season-highs with eight strikeouts and six innings pitched in the 4-2 victory.
The run surrendered by the 22-year-old saw his league-leading ERA jump from 0.88 to 0.95, as the southpaw earned his first win since May 11. Hader has not allowed more than one earned run in any of his 11 starts this season.
The Shuckers remain a game out of first place in the Southern League South with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos victory over the Jackson Generals on Tuesday night.
Biloxi (32-24) gave their starter an early lead by jumping on Chi-Wei Hu (2-3) in the first, as Brett Phillips (1x5, R, 3B) smashed the first pitch of the game into right for his team-leading third triple of the season. Nathan Orf (0x4, RBI) brought the runner home with a groundout to second for the early 1-0 lead.
Jacob Nottingham (1x3, RBI, 2B, BB) extended his hitting streak to five games with a run-scoring double to the gap in right-center, scoring Rene Garcia (1x3, R) from first. The 21-year-old catcher has hit safely in 27 of his last 31 games, and has reached safely in a team-high 15 consecutive games.
The Shuckers opened up the game to a four-run advantage thanks to some shaky defense by Kean Wong at second for the Biscuits.
With runners at second and third and one out, Nick Shaw (0x4) grounded one to Wong, but the ball skipped underneath the second baseman's glove, allowing Nick Ramirez (0x2, R, 2 BB) to score from third and Tyrone Taylor (1x3, R, BB) to move up to third. Javier Betancourt (1x4, RBI) followed by shooting a single into right, scoring Taylor for the second run of the frame.
Montgomery (28-29) scratched across a run against Hader in the sixth inning to close Biloxi's lead to three at 4-1.
Braxton Lee walked to start the inning, moved up to second on a one-out, bloop single to center off the bat of Jake Bauers. After a strikeout by Casey Gillaspie, Willy Adames doubled to left to score Lee.
After Tyler Spurlin worked a perfect seventh, Stephen Kohlscheen (SV, 4) ran into trouble in the eighth that was Montgomery plate its second run of the game.
Lee again started an inning by reaching base, this time with a single through the middle. Wong struck out for the first out, but a wild pitch allowed Lee to make it to second. Bauers singled to center to bring the runner across the plate to cut the Shuckers' lead to two.
Gillaspie walked to bring the tying run to the plate, but Kohlscheen induced an inning-ending double play by Adames to escape further damage.
The closer put the tying run on base again in the ninth on a two-out single by Jake DePew, but the seasoned veteran finished the game with a fly out off the bat of Pat Blair to secure the victory.
Biloxi goes for the series win at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday night in game three of the five-game set at Riverwalk Stadium. RHP Javi Salas (3-2, 4.17) toes the rubber for the Shuckers, while RHP Jake Faria (1-5, 4.62) will take the mound for the Biscuits.