The Biloxi Shuckers and Mobile BayBears wrapped up their 2016 head-to-head matchup with an offensive outburst on Sunday night at Hank Aaron Stadium, with the Shuckers falling by a score of 11-6.
Despite the loss, Biloxi took the season series over Mobile, 11-9, and leads the all-time matchup with 24-23 mark. The Shuckers scored 28 runs over the five-game set, averaging 5.6 runs per contest.
Mobile (28-25, 60-64) struck fast in the bottom of the first, plating three runs through three batters to take a 3-0 lead after the opening frame.
Evan Marzilli started things out with a double to left, and scored during Jamie Westbrook’s at-bat.
The BayBears’ second baseman hit a grounder to third that was fielded by Gabriel Noriega, but the Shuckers’ third baseman collided with his pitcher, Angel Ventura, on the throw to first. The ball sailed down the right field line, allowing Marzilli to score the game’s opening run.
Kevin Cron followed with his 21st home run of the season on a blast to center to put Biloxi in a 3-0 deficit.
The Shuckers responded with two runs of their own to cut the BayBears’ lead to one.
Noriega singled to start the frame, but was picked off of first for the first out of the inning. Javier Betancourt (1x3, 2 R, 2B, BB) drew a base on balls in front of Johnny Davis’ (2x4, 2 R, 2B, SB) single to left put runners at first and second, allowing Angel Venutra to drop down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position.
Tyrone Taylor (2x5, 2B, 4 RBI) drilled a double down the line in left, scoring both runners to make it a 3-2 game. The centerfielder drove in a season-high four runs, surpassing the previous mark of three set back on June 24 against the Montgomery Biscuits.
Mobile extended its lead to two with another run in the third.
Westbrook walked to lead things off, but Ventura struck out Cron and retired Travis Denker on a ground out to third. Dawel Lugo drove Westbrook home with a double to left-center for the BayBears’ fourth run of the game.
Taylor struck again with two outs in the fourth to tie the game at 4-4. Noriega walked and Betancourt doubled at the start of the inning. Davis grounded out to short, keeping the runners at bay, and Ventura struck out. Taylor snuck a single into center, plating both Noriega and Betancourt to knot the game at 4-4.
Another three-run home run for the home team put Biloxi in a three-run deficit for the second time on the night in the fifth.
Westbrook and Cron reached safely to start the inning, leading to Denker’s line shot just inside the pole in left to give the BayBears the 7-4 lead.
Biloxi (23-31, 62-62) crept back into the game with solo runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
Davis doubled to begin the sixth, stole third with Taylor at the plate, and scored on an errant throw by Oscar Hernandez.
Nick Ramirez (2x4, HR, RBI, R) crushed his 13th long ball of the year in the seventh to bring the Shuckers within a run.
Cron would create some separation after the stretch with his second round tripper of the evening to give Mobile an 8-6 advantage. The slugging first baseman pulled into a tie with Jackson Generals’ outfielder, Tyler O’Neill, with 22 dingers on the season.
Ventura followed Cron’s seventh-inning home run by issuing a walk to Denker, ending the night for the Shuckers’ starter. The right-hander allowed eight runs on eight hits, four walks and five strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work. The 23-year-old tossed a season-high 100 pitches (57 strikes).
Tayler Scott needed only one pitch in relief of Ventura against Lugo to induce an inning-ending double play.
Tyler Spurlin ceded three runs on three hits in the eighth, stretching the gap between the two clubs to 11-6.
Clint Coulter (2x5) extended his on-base streak to 13 games with a single in his first at-back in the first.
Edgar Garcia (4-3) earned the win for Mobile with four runs allowed on eight hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Zac Curtis (SV, 3) picked up the save with two scoreless innings and four punchouts.
The Shuckers head back home to start a 10-game home stand against with five against the Mississippi Braves and five versus the Jackson Generals starting Monday night at MGM Park. RHP Luis Ortiz (1-0, 0.00) opens the series for Biloxi against Mississippi’s RHP Patrick Weigel (0-0, --).