Despite a 5-4 loss to the Jackson Generals (37-30) at The Ballpark at Jackson, the Biloxi Shuckers (40-27) clinched a first-half title following Thursday night’s contest and are headed to the Southern League Playoffs for a second straight year after the recent 5-game sweep on the Pensacola Wahoos.
The championship is secured on the heels of a Blue Wahoos loss, with Biloxi owning the tiebreaker over their South Division foes and a three-game lead in the division with three games to play. With title secured, the Shuckers celebrate their third consecutive half finishing atop the South Division, the best stretch in franchise history.
Thursday’s meeting remained scoreless until the sixth inning as starting pitching went toe-to-toe over the first half of the contest. Matt Peacock worked five scoreless innings but was mirrored by the efficient night from Biloxi’s new right-hander, Dylan File. File allowed just one hit over five shutout frames, walked just one hitter, and struck out five in his Double-A debut but did not factor into the decision.
Peacock was lifted before starting the sixth and Biloxi was able to break through against Tyler Mark and the bullpen. Mark battled with control, walking five, including Patrick Leonard, Dillon Thomas and Weston Wilson to load the bases. Alexander Alvarez connected two at-bats later with a two-run double to give the Shuckers the first lead of the game. Bruce Caldwell then drew a free pass to reload the bases and Luis Aviles Jr. watched ball four to make it a 3-0 game.
In the bottom of the seventh, Johan Belisario nearly worked out of a bases loaded jam after giving up a pair of single and a walk with no outs. In the bullpen for the first time since April 15th, Belisario got Dominic Miroglio to pop out, struck out Galli Cribs Jr., but then with two-strikes surrendered a pinch-hit grand slam to Andy Young as Jackson swung in front 4-3.
Caldwell tied the game in the eighth against Matt Brill (W,1-4) by singling home Wilson, but Jackson locked up the lead in the home-half of the inning with a Jamie Westbrook RBI single off Cody Ponce (L,1-1) to make it 5-4. Cameron Gann (S,1) worked around a pair of base runners in the ninth and got Joantgel Segovia to ground into a force play for the final out and earn the save.
Three players from the Biloxi Shuckers have been added to the Southern League South Division team, the Southern League announced on Monday. RHP Luke Barker and RHP Johan Belisario will join the pitching staff, while OF Dillon Thomas earns a nod for the 47th Southern League All-Star Game. With the addition, the Shuckers now have nine players that will represent the host city on Tuesday, June 18 at 6:35 pm.
The 2019 Southern League All-Star festivities in Biloxi get started with FanFest and the Southern League Home Run Derby on Monday, June 17 at 3:00 pm. The Opening Night Gala, located at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Pool, will take place from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
The All-Star Luncheon, located at Hard Rock Live, will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Tuesday, June 18, and will feature the induction of the Southern League Hall of Fame and a keynote speech from former Mississippi State pitcher and 2003 eighth-overall selection Paul Maholm.
The Southern League All-Star Game will begin at 6:35 pm at MGM Park and will include special All-Star jerseys, a performance by the Fur Circus and postgame fireworks.
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi and will host the 2019 Southern League All-Star Game on June 18. For more information please visit biloxishuckers.com and follow us on Twitter @biloxishuckers and at facebook.com/biloxishuckers.