BILOXI Clint Coulter set a Biloxi Shuckers record with four runs as the home team defeated the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 7-2, on Saturday night at MGM Park.
The Shuckers’ previous record was three runs, set by 11 different players, with the last occurrence happening on July 31 against the Jacksonville Suns. With the win, the Shuckers take a 2-0 series edge and will try and snap a six-series losing skid on Sunday in game three.
Biloxi (17-25, 56-55) was no-hit through the first three frames, but still managed to grab a 1-0 lead with a run in the third.
Coulter (2x2, 4 R, BB) took a 1-0 pitch off the jersey to put the leadoff man aboard for the Shuckers in the top of the third. Angel Ortega (2x4, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI) followed with a fielders’ choice, but the ball was thrown away by Alex Blandino on a play at second, allowing both runners an extra 90 ft. Luis Ortiz took his first career hacks and came up empty on three pitches for the first out.
Brett Phillips (1x4, RBI) sent a fly ball to right that was deep enough for a sacrifice, scoring Coulter from third for the lead.
Ortiz went three innings in his first outing since being acquired from the Texas Rangers on Aug. 1, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out three. The 20-year-old needed 47 pitches to work through his first start for Biloxi, with 26 crossing the plate for strikes.
The Shuckers created separation in the fourth with a two-spot to open up a three-run edge.
Dustin Demuth (2x4, 2B) doubled down the left field line to start things off, but was erased on a fielder’s choice on a grounder to short off the bat of Gabriel Noriega (0x4, R). After Javier Betancourt (0x4) moved the runner up to second on a bouncing ball to first, Coulter drew a walk to put two aboard for Ortega. The Shuckers’ shortstop drilled a two-run double to the gap in right-center, plating Noriega and Coulter to extend the lead to 3-0.
Biloxi put up two more runs in the sixth on an infield single by Tristan Archer, driving in Coulter and Ortega. Coulter collected his first Double-A hit on a two-out single to left, ahead of Ortega’s second two-bagger of the night. Archer fell behind 0-2, worked the count even, and bounced a ball up the middle that was stopped by Blandino, who had no play.
Pensacola (19-23, 60-52) broke up the shutout with two runs in in the eighth against Archer.
Kyle Skipworth smashed a double to the wall in center to leadoff the frame, and scored on Ronald Bueno’s single to left-center. Bueno was thrown out at second trying to stretch the single into a double.
Blandino stroked a single to center and moved up to second on a single to third. Noriega threw the ball away at second in an attempt to nab Blandino, allowing both runners to advance a base. Sebastian Elizalde lftted a sacrifice fly to center for the second run of the inning.
Brandon Dixon singled to right, ending Archer’s night and bringing Stephen Kohlcheen (SV, 17) in from the bullpen. The veteran right-hander walked Zach Vincej to load the bases, but struck out Taylor Sparks to end the inning.
The Shuckers answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning on run-scoring singles by Nick Ramirez (1x1, RBI) and Tyrone Taylor (1x4, RBI, BB).
Coulter smashed a ground ball through the left side for a leadoff single and moved up to second on an error by Sparks at third off the bat of Ortega. Ramirez cracked a single to center, bringing Coulter home from second for his fourth run of the game.
Taylor followed two batters later with an RBI smash to center, scoring Ortega. Coulter has scored five runs in only four plate appearances, having scored the game-winning run in last night’s 5-4 walk-off win as a pinch runner.
Kohlscheen loaded the bags in the ninth before striking out Ervin to lock down his 17th save of the season.
The Shuckers go for the series win in game three of the five-game set on Sunday night at MGM Park. RHP Taylor Jungmann (1-2, 3.00) seeks his first win of the year against Pensacola in his third battle with the Cincinnati Red’s Double-A affiliate this season for Biloxi. RHP Jackson Stephens (7-10, 3.27) toes the rubber for Pensacola.