BILOXI The Biloxi Shuckers put up a franchise-high seven runs in the eighth inning of Friday night’s contest against the Mississippi Braves to help complete the Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A affiliate’s first ever five-game series sweep with a 10-6 victory at MGM Park.
The Shuckers entered the series 11.5 games out of first place in the Southern League South, but send the Braves home with just a 5.5 game difference between the two clubs. Biloxi (28-32, 67-62) also climbs within half a game of Mississippi (33-26, 67-61) in the overall standings.
The Shuckers trailed 4-3 entering the eighth inning after losing a 2-0 lead. The comeback inning started with a strikeout by Evan Phillips (5-3) of Clint Coulter (1x5, 2 RBI), but Dustin DeMuth (2x5, RBI, R) singled up the middle for the first base runner of the frame.
Jacob Nottingham (2x4, HR, RBI, R, BB) struck out for the second out with Gabriel Noriega (2x4, R) following with a single to right to move the tying run into scoring position. Chris McFarland (1x4, RBI, R) brought home DeMuth with a single to center to tie the game at 4-4.
The line kept moving as Nick Ramirez (2x4, R) drew a free pass to load the bases for Johnny Davis (1x4, RBI, 2 R). Mississippi turned to Victor Mateo to face off against the speedster, who sent the eighth pitch of the at-bat into center field to score Noriega and give the Shuckers the lead.
Angel Ortega (2x5, 2 RBI, R, 2B) reached on an error by Carlos Franco at third, allowing McFarland to come home and open up the floodgates. Brett Phillips (1x3, RBI, R, 2 BB) drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Ramirez to give the home team a two-run lead.
Coulter came up again and sent a two-run single to right to make it a 9-4 game. DeMuth shot a single to right to score Phillips for the seventh run of the inning.
Stephen Kohlscheen allowed a two-run home run in the ninth to Stephen Gaylor to close the Shuckers lead to 10-6, but the seasoned right-hander did not allow another run to cross the plate to secure the come-from-behind victory.
Nottingham got the Shuckers’ offense started with a solo shot off the netting over the wall in left for a 1-0 lead.
Biloxi pieced together a one-out rally in the fifth to grab an insurance run against Lucas Sims.
After McFarland and Ventura were retired to start the innings, Davis drew a walk to keep the inning alive for Ortega. With the shortstop at the plate, Davis swiped second, and advanced to third on an errant throw by Braves’ catcher Joseph Odom.
Ortega poked a flare into shallow center field, allowing Davis to trot home for the 2-0 advantage.
Mississippi countered with a four-spot in the sixth to take its first lead of the series.
Gaylor reached on an error by McFarland at second to leadoff the frame. Carlos Franco perfectly executed a hit-and-run with a grounder through a vacated shortstop position to put runners on first and second with nobody out.
Dustin Peterson lined a single into right, driving home Gaylor to cut the Shuckers’ lead in half and end the night for Ventura.
Tyler Scott came in from the bullpen and struck out Levi Hyams for the first out. Joey Meneses followed with a slow chopper to the left side of the infield that was fielded by Scott, but an errant throw by the pitcher allowed Meneses to reach safely and brought home Franco to tie the game at two apiece, and moved Peterson to third.
A grounder back to Scott off the bat of Odom advanced Meneses to second and held Peterson at third. Reed Harper’s hot shot off the leg of Scott caromed into shallow left field, scoring Peterson and Meneses to put the visitors ahead by two.
The Shuckers crawled within a run after the stretch on a double to the wall in right by Ortega, bringing Tyrone Taylor (1x1, R) home all the way from first. Ortega took third on the play, but would be left stranded on a strikeout to Phillips.
Junior Rincon (1-1) earned the win by tossing a scoreless eighth inning, and striking out the side.