Former Mississippi State pitcher Brandon Woodruff fired eight shutout innings for the Biloxi Shuckers on Wednesday night, and the Mississippi Braves were shutout 5-0 at MGM Park in the third of a five-game series.
It was the second straight night the Braves (33-24; 67-60) were shutout, and the sixth loss out of the last seven.
Michael Mader (0-2) took the loss but had seven strong innings, allowing just a run on two hits while striking out five. Woodruff (8-8) got the win, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out seven over eight innings.
Biloxi (26-32; 65-62) hit the run column in the fifth for a 1-0 edge. Mader walked Nick Ramirez, then gave up singles to Gabriel Noriega and Johnny Davis to load the bases. Woodruff grounded out to second to bring in the first run and help his own starting effort.
The Shuckers pulled away with a four-run eighth off reliever AJ Minter. Davis and pinch-hitter Clint Coulter opened the frame with back-to-back singles, moving into scoring position on a wild pitch. Brett Phillips drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to left to make it 2-0.
Minter got Angel Ortega to fly out for the second out, but gave up a single to Tyrone Taylor and a walk to Jacob Nottingham to load the bases. Taylor Lewis came on in relief with two outs and gave up a bases-clearing double to Ramirez, extending the Biloxi lead to 5-0.
Mississippi managed just three hits in the loss and had only one man in scoring position all night with a Willians Astudillo two-out double in the ninth.
Even with the loss, Mississippi maintained their 3 ½-game lead over Pensacola, who fell 3-2 to Mobile to shrink the Braves’ magic number to 10.
The Braves and Shuckers square off in the fourth of a five-game series on Thursday night at 6:40 PM CT at MGM Park, with right-hander Max Povse (4-0, 2.45) set to take the ball against right-hander Jorge Lopez (1-3, 4.67) for Biloxi.