JACKSONVILLE, FL. - Garrett Cooper extended his hitting streak to eight games by driving in the game winning runs in the Biloxi Shuckers' 4-1 victory over the Jacksonville Suns on Friday night at Bragan Field. The win places Biloxi in a tie for first place in the Southern League South division with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at the conclusion of the contest.
Cooper had a pristine opportunity to push a run across in the third with the bases loaded and one out, but came up empty. Tristan Archer started the inning with a single to right for his first career hit. Johnny Davis (1x4, R) doubled to right-center, extending his hitting streak to six games and put runners at second and third with nobody out. After Nathan Orf (0x3, R) flew out to right, Brett Phillips (2x3, R, BB) drew a free pass to load the bases. Garrett Cooper (1x4, 3 RBI, 2B) roped a liner to left that was caught on the fly by Austin Dean, who then threw behind Davis at second to complete the inning-ending double play.
Cooper had a shot at redemption in the eighth with another bases-loaded, one-out situation and the game tied at one. The 2016 All-Star came through with a bases-clearing double on an inside-out swing down the line in right to give Biloxi a 4-1 advantage. The two-bagger extended the Auburn product's hitting streak to eight games, tying a team-high on the year.
Archer made his first start since July 17, 2015 and did his part to keep the Shuckers in the game. The 25-year-old tossed three innings and gave up only two hits and struck out five. The Kingsport, TN native faced four batters, threw four first-pitch strikes, and struck out the side in the first.
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The right-hander worked a perfect frame in the second, and gave up a hit and left a man stranded in the third to complete his night.
Biloxi (38-29) would strike first in the fourth inning, as Nick Ramirez (1x4, HR, RBI, R) launched a solo shot into the bleachers in right field for his sixth home run of the season. The homer put Biloxi up 1-0.
Jacksonville (29-39) knotted the game at one as Francisco Arcia smacked a ground-rule double off the warning track in left-center to leadoff the frame. Two batters later, Yefri Perez lined a single to center to score the runner from second.
Javi Salas made his first relief appearance of the season and surrendered the fifth-inning run. On the night, the 24-year-old allowed a run on two hits and two walks in three innings.
Brett Lee and Tallahassee, FL native Gage Smith (1-0) combined to strand a base runner at third in the seventh to keep the game tied at one. Smith would give up a leadoff double in the eighth to Moises Sierra, but the Suns would fail to capitalize.
Live Oak, FL native Daniel Tillman (SV, 6) earned his sixth save in as many chances despite allowing two to reach base in the ninth. The closer struck out two in his lone inning of work, and extended his scoreless streak to 18.2 innings of work dating back to April 8.
Biloxi will look to keep the momentum going in game four of the five-game set from Bragan Field at 5:05 p.m. Saturday night. RHP Jorge Ortega (0-6, 4.52) will look for his first win in his 13th start for the Shuckers. It has yet to be determined who will start for the Suns. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.,