The Biloxi Shuckers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Mobile BayBears on Wednesday night at MGM Park to begin a stretch of 20 games in 20 days to finish off the 2016 season.
Biloxi improved to 24-15 in one-run games, and is now 42-0 when leading after eight innings. All eight Biloxi position players recorded a hit in the win.
Biloxi (21-30, 60-60) grabbed an early lead in the second with a run against Josh Taylor.
Clint Coulter (1x4, R, RBI) started the frame with a single to left and advanced to second on a ground out back to the mound off the bat of Gabriel Noriega (1x4). After Javier Betancourt (1x4) bounced out back to the pitcher, Angel Ortega (1x3, RBI) smacked a single to right, scoring Coulter from second for the 1-0 lead.
Coulter extended his hitting streak to 10 games, dating back to his final game with Brevard County. The 23-year-old has gone 16-for-34 over that stretch with six RBI.
The Shuckers pieced together another run in the fourth to collect some insurance.
Jacob Nottingham (1x2, R, BB, SB) one-hopped a line drive off the wall in left to leadoff the inning, and Dustin DeMuth (1x4) legged out an infield single to first to place runners at the corners with nobody out. Coulter bounced into a fielder’s choice, allowing Nottingham to cross the plate safely to take the two-run advantage.
Tyrone Taylor (1x4, HR, R, RBI) launched a solo blast onto Caillavet in the fifth to extend the Shuckers’ lead to three.
The three-run cushion would be plenty to work with for Luis Ortiz (1-0), who made his third start with Biloxi on Wednesday night.
The 20-year-old shut out the BayBears in 5.2 innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out two en route to his first win in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. The right-hander tossed 78 pitches, with 51 going for strikes. Ortiz has not allowed an earned run over 12.1 innings since the trade with Texas.
Tristan Archer relieved the starter with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth, and popped up Dawel Lugo on a 1-2 pitch to leave the runner stranded.
The Kingsport, Tenn. native worked around a leadoff error in the seventh to Gabriel Guerrero by inducing a groundout by Oscar Hernandez and setting down Stewart Ijames and Evan Marzilli on strikes.
Mobile (26-24, 58-62) clawed back into the game with a two-spot in the eighth to cut Biloxi’s lead to one.
Preston Gainey took over for Archer to start the inning and allowed three consecutive singles to start the inning to Domingo Leyba, Jamie Westbrook and Kevin Kron. Kron delivered a run-scoring single to center to score Leyba.
Travis Denker went down on strikes for the first out of the inning, but Lugo and Guerrero reached on errors, allowing Westbrook to score and cut the lead to one.
Shuckers’ manager Mike Guerrero summoned Tayler Scott from the bullpen to take over for Gainey, and the native of Johannesburg, South Africa retired Hernandez on a fly out to Taylor and left, then beat Chuck Taylor to the bag at first on a soft grounder to the right side of the infield to escape the inning.
Stephen Kohlscheen (SV, 19) earned his 19th save in 20 chances by working around Westbrook’s two-out single.
Josh Taylor (3-2) suffered the loss for the BayBears, allowing three runs on eight hits, a walk and six strikeouts in six innings for the quality start.
The Shuckers will go for the two-game lead in the five-game series at 6:40 p.m. Thursday night at MGM Park. RHP Taylor Jungmann (1-2, 2.60) toes the rubber for Biloxi against Mobile’s RHP Billy Buckner (4-6, 3.22).