Friday night’s rubber match at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville sat in a scoreless tie until the Biloxi Shuckers (63-41, 22-12 2nd half) rattled off a three-run seventh inning and held on to top the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (49-55, 20-14 2nd half), 3-1. Both starting pitchers tossed scoreless baseball until the rainy evening turned into a battle of the bullpens.
Dylan File (W, 6-1) started his night by utilizing the defense, working double plays in the first and third inning while allowing just three baserunners over his first three frames. The right-hander worked around a Riley Mahan double in the fourth with a pair of strikeouts and then maneuvered around a jam in the sixth. Billy Fleming and Anfernee Seymour started with singles and Bryson Brigman dropped a sac bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. The Shuckers opted to intentionally walk Mahan to load the bases with one out and have File face the heart of the order. File proceeded to strikeout Stone Garrett and coaxed Lazaro Alonso into a groundout to strand the bases full. File departed after six innings of shutout work, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out eight.
His counterpart, Daniel Castano, worked around a pair of first inning singles from Patrick Leonard and Dillon Thomas and didn’t allow another base runner the rest of the way. The lefty retired 16 batters in a row and struck out five over six shutout innings in a no decision.
Biloxi broke through against Chad Smith (L ,1-1) out of the Jacksonville bullpen in the seventh. Leonard led off with his second base hit of the night and Thomas followed up with his ninth home run of the season to give the Shuckers a 2-0 lead. Cooper Hummel was hit by a pitch with one out, advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, and then moved to third on a throwing error. Max McDowell dropped a bunt to bring home Hummel and cap a three-run inning.
Cody Ponce (H, 8) allowed the lone run on the night when Brigman and Mahan notched consecutive two-out doubles in the eighth inning to make it a 3-1 game. Nate Griep (S, 17) entered in the ninth, walked Justin Twine with one out, but then retired the next to hitters to lock up the save and the victory.
After rain washed away Wednesday’s action, the Biloxi Shuckers and Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp resumed their five-game series with a doubleheader at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville on Thursday night. Both sides benefited from a strong starting pitching performance on the evening, with the Shuckers grabbing game one 6-1 but falling in game two by a 3-1 final.
Alec Bettinger (W, 5-5) opened his stellar night on the mound by retiring five batters in a row and striking out four. With two outs in the second inning, Corey Bird singled and stole second base and Anfernee Seymour drove him in with an RBI base hit for a 1-0 Jumbo Shrimp lead.
The Shuckers quickly rebounded with their own two-out rally in the third inning after Edward Cabrera (L, 3-1) struck out Max McDowell and Bettinger. Joantgel Segovia hustled out a bunt single, Bruce Caldwell walked and Patrick Leonard ripped a laser three-run homer over the left-field wall for a 3-1 advantage.
Seated with the lead, Bettinger worked around a leadoff triple by Bryson Brigman in the bottom of the third and allowed just one base runner the rest of the game with a walk to J.C. Millan in the fifth. Biloxi’s right hander went the distance, completing seven innings for the second complete game of his career while allowing just three hits and striking out nine.
Sparking another three-run frame, Weston Wilson hit a solo home run to leadoff the seventh inning and make it 4-1. The homer was the 14th of the season and his tenth against the Jumbo Shrimp. Max McDowell followed with a one-out walk, Bettinger doubled, and both runners scored on a wild pitch and throwing error to cap the score at 6-1.
Following a 30-minute intermission, the story on the mound flipped to Jacksonville right-hander Kolton Mahoney (W, 4-0). Mahoney allowed just one hit and struck out six over his first four innings on the mound.
Daniel Brown was tabbed for his first start of the season and worked around trouble in the second, getting Riley Mahan to lineout and strand the bases loaded. Tyler Spurlin (L, 1-1) took over for Brown in the third and walked the first two batters he faced before Stone Garrett broke up the scoreless tie with a single. Spurlin recovered by recording a pair of outs but then allowed a two-run single to Seymour for a 3-0 Jacksonville advantage.
Mohoney tossed scoreless ball through the sixth, striking out eight in total before turning the game over to Tyler Stevens (S, 2) in the seventh. With one out, Jake Gatewood socked a solo home run to left but the swing proved too little too late as Segovia and Caldwell were retired to close a 3-1 defeat.
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi.