A late Biloxi Shuckers rally in the ninth fell short as Mobile held off Biloxi 5-4 Saturday night in Southern League action at MGM Park.
Trailing 5-1 in the ninth, Chris McFarland rapped a two-run single to center, then scored on a wild pitch to cut the Biloxi deficit to 5-4. After a Brett Phillips single, Tyrone Taylor flied out to center to end the game.
The Shuckers are now 13-22 in the second half of the season, and 52-52 overall. Mobile is 20-15.
“It never feels good when you lose but it always is good to be competitive,’’ Biloxi manager Mike Guerrero said. “We were able to put together three runs out there. We need to stay competitive. The last six games have all been one-run games.
“There is a lot of good things and there are some things to work on (for Jorge Lopez). We know what he is capable and we want to turn him around.’’
Lopez (0-1) was the losing pitcher, giving up two homers and trailing 2-1 when he left after five innings. Billy Buckner (4-5) picked up the win, giving up one run on five hits with six strikeouts.
The Shuckers now hit the road for a five-game series at Jacksonville, the Marlins’ Southern League affiliate. Pitcher Angel Ventura (1-2, 3.80) will get the start in Sunday’s opener, opposed on the mound by Hunter Adkins (2-5, 5.72).
Mobile quickly jumped on top 1-0 in the first inning when Travis Denker hit a two-out solo homer to left off Lopez, who was making his first start in Biloxi since 2015. He was just send down from the AAA Sky Sox.
But Biloxi answered in its half of the first. Brett Phillips led off with a single to right, then went to second on a Billy Buckner wild pitch. Tyrone Taylor walked and Phillips moved to third on a flyball by Nick Ramirez, and he scored on a RBI single to left off the bat of Gabriel Noriega. The hit was set up when Taylor broke for second on a hit-and- run, and Noriega rapped his hit through the spot vacated by the shortstop who was covering second.
Mobile reclaimed the lead at 2-1 in the fourth when Todd Glaesmann homered off the light standard in left field.
Lopez gave way to Junior Rincon in the sixth after giving up two runs on three hits, including five strikeouts. Mobile promptly rocked Rincon for two runs on RBI singles by Ronnie Freeman and Rudy Mobile added another run in the seventh as the Biloxi bullpen loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batsman. Kevin Medrano’s grounder plated a run for a 5-1 lead.
Noreiga, McFarland and Phillips each had two hits for Biloxi. Medrano had two hits for the BayBears.