Despite seven shutout innings and 10 strikeouts from starter Brandon Woodruff, the Biloxi Shuckers could not pick up the series victory over the Mobile BayBears after dropping Friday night’s contest, 1-0, at MGM Park.
The Shuckers stranded five men on base, and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Tristan Archer (3-4) came out of the bullpen to work the ninth inning of a scoreless contest. The righty induced a ground out off the bat of Domingo Leyba to start the frame, but gave up a single to center to Rudy Flores.
With Todd Glaesmann taking over as a pinch runner at first, Kevin Cron smacked a single to right to advance the runner to third. Dawel Lugo hit a slow roller to short that was fielded by Angel Ortega and flipped to Chris McFarland at second for the first out, but the double play could not be completed as Lugo legged out the turn to first and score Glaesmann for the game’s only run.
Matt Stites (SV, 10) earned the save despite walking two batters in the bottom half of the inning. The right-handed closer got a ground out off the bat of Johnny Davis (0x4) to start the frame, but walked Tyrone Taylor (0x3, BB) and Brett Phillips (0x2, 2 BB) to put the tying run in scoring position. A strikeout to Jacob Nottingham (1x4) and a check-swing grounder to second by Dustin DeMuth (1x4) ended the game.
Brandon Woodruff continued his dominating month of July deep into Friday’s contest, shutting out the BayBears through seven innings to stretch his scoreless-inning streak to 24.1 innings, besting Josh Hader’s mark of 19.1 set from May 11-28. The right-hander tied a career high with 10 strikeouts, including the final three after walking Kevin Cron to start the seventh. The Wheeler, Miss. native tossed a season-high 102 pitches (73 strikes), walked two and surrendered just three hits.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ 22nd-ranked prospect (MLB.com) posted an ERA of 0.30 (1er/30.2ip) during the month, to go along with 42 strikeouts compared to five free passes.
BayBears’ starting pitcher, Josh Taylor, was equally as impressive for the visitors, collecting eight strikeouts over seven innings, while allowing just two hits and walking a batter on 91 pitches (58 strikes).
Southpaw Daniel Gibson (4-1) earned the win for Mobile (19-15, 51-53), by striking out Nick Ramirez (0x1, SO) with a runner on second base and two outs in the eighth inning.
Biloxi (13-21, 52-51) will go for series victory in the rubber match of the series at 7:10 p.m. Saturday night in the finale at MGM Park. Reigning Southern League Pitcher of the Year Jorge Lopez makes his first start of the season for Biloxi and will go up against RHP Billy Buckner (3-5, 3.21) for Mobile.