BILOXI, MS. – The Biloxi Shuckers’ five-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night, as the home team fell to the visiting Jackson Generals, 4-1.
The Shuckers stay 5.5 games back of the Mississippi Braves in the Southern League South division after the division leaders fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts, and are half a game behind the Atlanta Braves’ Double-A affiliate in the overall standings.
Jackson (36-24, 82-48) tagged Luis Ortiz for a run in the first, but it was unearned to keep the 20-year-old’s ERA flawless through his first 18.1 innings with Biloxi (28-33, 67-63).
Tim Lopes doubled to the gap in left-center with one out for the Generals, advanced to third on a passed ball with Tyler O’Neill at the plate, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Dario Pizzano for the first run of the game.
Leon Landry started the second with a leadoff home run to the berm in right to give the visitors a 2-0 lead, and snapping Ortiz’s unearned run streak at 18.1 innings.
The Shuckers broke through the scoreboard in the fifth, as big league rehabber, Will Middlebrooks (2x4, RBI), came through with an RBI knock to cut the deficit in half.
Javier Betancourt (1x2, R) singled to center with one out and advanced to second on a walk to Tyrone Taylor (0x3). Brett Phillips (0x4) lined out to center for the second out, before Middlebrooks ripped a single through the left side of the infield to bring the game to 2-1.
Ortiz (2-1) suffered his first loss with the Shuckers, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits, a walk and two punchouts.
The Generals extended the gap between the clubs with a two-spot in the seventh.
Patrick Brady singled against Tristan Archer to lead off the inning. Two wild pitches to Benji Gonzalez moved Brady up to third, leading to the shortstop’s run-scoring single to right to put Jackson ahead, 3-1.
Preston Gainey came in from the bullpen to relieve Archer, and the right-hander struck out Lopes for the first out of the inning, with Gonzalez swiping second during the at-bat. The base runner took third during O’Neill’s turn at the dish, allowing the Southern League’s leader in RBIs to drive in his 97th of the year with a sacrifice fly to center.
Brett Ash (12-8) picked up the win with one run allowed on seven hits, a walk and four strikeouts. The 25-year-old needed 88 pitches to work through the night, with 63 going for strikes.
Brandon Sisk (SV, 1) earned his first save of the year by working around a single and a walk in the ninith.
The Shuckers and Generals face off again at 7:10 p.m. Sunday in game two of the five game series. RHP Taylor Jungmann (2-3, 2.37) makes the start for the Shuckers and will be opposed by RHP Andrew Moore (9-1, 2.78) of the Generals.