The Biloxi Shuckers started their five-game road series with an 8-4 loss to the Jacksonville Suns at Bragan Field on Wednesday night.
Both Biloxi and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos dropped their contests on Wednesday night, as the two teams will continue to stay tied for first place in the Southern League South division with four games left for Biloxi and five remaining for Pensacola.
Biloxi (37-28) jumped on Jacksonville's Chris Mazza quickly, as the Shuckers' first three batters all reached safely to load the bases with nobody out in the first inning
Johnny Davis (1x4, 2 R) legged out an infield single on a high-bouncing ball to second. Nathan Orf (2x3, R, BB) drew a free pass and Brett Phillips (2x4, HR, 3 RBI, R,) singled to right to load the bases for Garrett Cooper (1x4). The All-Star flew out to left field for the first out, but Jacob Nottingham (0x2, RBI, BB) picked up his teammate with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Davis for the first run of the game.
Jacksonville (28-38) erased Biloxi's lead just as quickly, plating three runs before recording an out in the home half of the first.
Yefri Perez and J.T. Riddle singled to start the frame, leading up to Austin Dean's three-run shot over the wall in left to put the Shuckers in a two-run deficit.
Biloxi's starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff (2-3) struggled to put away batter in the inning, as the Wheeler, MS native lasted just one-third of an inning, surrendering three runs on three hits and two walks, while throwing 36 pitches (21 strikes).
Brooks Hall induced a double play to get out of the first and escaped a second-and-third situation with no outs in the second without allowing a run to cross. The long reliever gave up a leadoff home run to Moises Sierra to stretch the Jacksonville's lead to three. The Anderson, SC native yielded three more runs in the fourth before being lifted for newcomer Gage Smith.
The product of Florida State allowed two hits in 1.1 innings in his Biloxi Shuckers debut.
Phillips clawed the Shuckers within three with a three-run blast in the fifth. The Seminole, Fla. native extended his team-lead in homers to nine, and has collected at least one long ball in two of his last four games. The 22-year-old has reached safely in 18 of his last 19 games.
Biloxi will look to get back in the win column in game two of the five-game series on Thursday night at Bragan Field. RHP Adrian Houser (3-5, 5.37) takes the mound for the Shuckers at 6:05 p.m.