JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Biloxi Shuckers permitted all three runs with two outs during Thursday’s, 3-1 loss to the Jacksonville Suns at Bragan Field. The loss places the Shuckers a half-game behind the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for first place in the Southern League South Division after the Blue Wahoos topped the Mobile BayBears 3-2 in game one of their doubleheader.
Jacksonville (29-38) took the early lead in the first, using a leadoff single from Yefri Perez to its advantage. The speedster singled to left to start the home team’s offense, moved to third on J.T. Riddle’s single to right, and scored on a two-out single off the bat of Brian Anderson to put the Shuckers in a 1-0 hole at the end of an inning.
The Suns added insurance with another two-out tally in the third. Austin Dean started the rally after Perez and Riddle were retired to start the frame. Two wild pitches to Moises Sierra advanced the runner to third. The league’s best hitter smacked a single to center to score Dean for the two-run advantage.
Biloxi (37-29) cut into Jacksonville’s lead in the sixth with a run of its own. Nathan Orf (2x4, 2B, R) roped a double down the left-field line to start things off, moved up to third on Brett Phillips’ (0x4) deep fly out to center and scored on an infield single off the bat of Garrett Cooper (3x4, RBI).
The Shuckers’ first baseman extended his hitting streak to seven games for the second time this season with his second three-hit performance of the season.
Adrian Houser (3-6) started and tossed his third-consecutive quality start for the Shuckers in the losing effort. The Locust Grove, OK native went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts on 99 pitches (58 strikes). The 23-year-old has worked six, or more, innings in six of his last seven starts.
Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero turned to Stephen Peterson out of the bullpen to work the seventh, and the lefty retired the first two batters he faced before allowing the next three to reach and extend the Shuckers’ deficit back to two.
The third two-out rally for Jacksonville started with a free pass issued to pinch hitter Jeremias Pineda. Perez walked to put runners on first and second for Riddle, who cracked a single to right to score Pineda.
Tyler Spurlin was summoned from the ‘pen to limit the damage. The sidewinder walked Dean to load the bases, but induced a ground out to second by Sierra to retire the side.
Stephen Kohlscheen walked a man in the eighth and struck out a batter.
Suns’ starter Jake Esch (7-5) earned his first win since May 27 by allowing one run on eight hits, a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings.
Thursday’s contest was the first time this season the Shuckers dropped a game that involved a two-run difference (10-1).
The Shuckers will look to snap their two-game losing streak in game three of the five-game series at Bragan Field. It has yet to be determined who will start for Biloxi, while RHP Hunter Adkins (0-1, 6.75) takes the bump for Jacksonville. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.