The Biloxi Shuckers (81-59, 40-30) clinched the second half South Division Title despite a 6-4 defeat against the Birmingham Barons (66-72, 34-36) on Monday afternoon at MGM Park. Biloxi clinched the title when Pensacola fell to Tennessee 3-0, ensuring the Shuckers will host four out of five potential Divisional Championship games.
Birmingham got to Shuckers starter RHP Conor Harber (L, 1-1) for three runs in the second and three more in the third, registering eight hits against the righty. RHP Nattino Diplan provided 3.1 innings of scoreless relief for Biloxi, keeping the Shuckers in the game.
Facing former Shuckers LHP Kodi Medeiros, Biloxi started a comeback in the bottom of the third. Corey Ray singled to begin the frame, and Keston Hiura and Troy Stokes Jr. each walked to load the bases. Weston Wilson drove in the first run of the game with an RBI single, followed by a pair of sacrifice flies from Trent Grisham and Gabriel Noriega, halving the deficit to 6-3.
RHP Jake Johansen (W, 2-4) entered the game in the third and allowed just one unearned run when Grisham scored on the back end of a steal by Luis Aviles Jr. Biloxi put a runner on in three of the final four frames, but LHP Ian Clarkin (H, 1) and LHP Brian Clark (S, 4) tossed four scoreless innings, preventing the Shuckers comeback. For the Shuckers, RHP Miguel Sanchez twirled two perfect frames, striking out five, and RHP Cody Ponce spun a perfect ninth with a pair of K’s.
The Shuckers have an off day on Tuesday before opening the 2018 Southern League Divisional Round against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos at home on Wednesday night at 6:35 PM. The Shuckers are set to send 2018 Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher RHP Zack Brown (9-1, 2.40) to the mound while the Blue Wahoos have not named a starter.