BILOXI - The Biloxi Shuckers opened up a 10-game homestand with a 2-1 victory over the Mississippi Braves on Monday night at MGM Park. The season series between the Magnolia State rivals is even at 5-5 while the Shuckers hold the all-time series lead, 17-16.
Biloxi (24-32, 63-62) was held hitless going into the fourth inning by Braves’ starter Patrick Weigel, making his Double-A debut, but finally broke through in both the hit and run columns.
Tom Belza dug in with two outs and worked a full count before being hit by a pitch to extend the inning for Angel Ortega (1x3, 2B, RBI). The Shuckers’ shortstop drilled a double off the wall in left, scoring Belza all the way from first to give Biloxi a 1-0 lead.
Luis Ortiz (2-0) avoided damage in the top of the fifth as the Braves had runners at the corners with one out after a triple by Ozzie Albies and a walk to Johan Camargo.
The 20-year-old popped up Dustin Peterson in foul territory and retired Carlos Franco on a ground ball back to the mound to leave the runners stranded.
Ortiz earned the victory with five scoreless innings on five hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The right-hander has allowed only one unearned run in 17.1 innings with the Shuckers since being acquired from the Texas Rangers on Aug. 1.
Brett Phillips added an insurance run in the fifth with his team-leading 14th home run of the season, a solo shot onto the berm in right.
Shuckers manager Mike Guerrero turned to Tristan Archer for the first man out of the bullpen. The Kingsport, Tenn. native worked two perfect frames and picked up four strikeouts.
Tayler Scott came out to work the eighth against Mississippi (33-22, 67-57) and ran into a bases-loaded, one-out jam.
Camargo doubled to right to leadoff the inning in front of a strikeout to Peterson. Back-to-back walks to Franco and Jacob Schrader loaded the bases for pinch hitter, Levi Hyams, who bounced into an inning-ending double play.
Stephen Kohlscheen (SV, 20) allowed a run in the ninth after Connor Lien tripled to start off the inning and scored on a ground out to first off the bat of Joseph Odom. The right-handed closer retired Stephen Gaylor and Albies on ground outs to end the night and secure the series-opening victory.
Patrick Weigel (0-1) made his Double-A debut on Monday night and suffered the loss. The 22-year-old allowed both of Biloxi’s runs on two hits, four walks and seven strikeouts.
Biloxi will go for the two-game lead in the five-game series at MGM Park. RHP Taylor Jungmann (1-3, 2.70) takes the mound for the Shuckers against the Braves’ LHP Sean Newcomb (7-7, 4.10). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.