The weekend games for Saturday and Sunday was a great homestand for the Biloxi Shuckers. After a 1-0 no hitter win tossed by the Shuckers over the Mississippi Braves on Saturday night at MGM Park, Biloxi’s bats exploded for a 14-10 victory Sunday afternoon with a series victory.
Ethan Small, Zach Vennaro, Nathan Kirby and Matt Hardy combined to no-hit the Mississippi Braves in a 1-0 Biloxi Shuckers win in front of a crowd of 3,482 on Saturday night at MGM Park. It was the first nine-inning no-hitter in the history of the Shuckers’ franchise history and the second overall no-no.
Mississippi State Alum Small (W, 1-1) took the hill first for the Shuckers and worked around traffic in each of his five innings of no-hit work. Justin Dean drew a leadoff walk in the first but was caught attempting to steal second, allowing Small to face the minimum in the inning. Small issued one walk and struck out one in each of his next two frames before hitting Trey Harris to start the bottom of the fourth. The southpaw struck out the next two batters and Harris was thrown out attempting to steal second by Shuckers’ catcher Payton Henry, ending any threat in the fourth.
The biggest moment of the night for Small came in the fifth inning. Drew Lugbauer walked and was cancelled out on a fielder’s choice by C.J. Alexander. Jalen Miller then worked a walk, the fifth of the night by Small, and Tyler Neslony legged out a fielder’s choice to avoid an inning-ending double play. With two outs and runners on the corners, Small faced Dean for a third time and struck out the M-Braves centerfielder, Small’s sixth strikeout of the night. It was the longest outing of Small’s professional career and his first career victory.
Biloxi’s offense scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Chad Spanberger and Alexander Palma drew back-to-back walks and moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch by M-Braves’ RHP Luis Mora (L, 0-1). Ryan Aguilar then bounced a ball to second, allowing Spanberger to score without a throw and putting the Shuckers ahead 1-0.
Vennaro (H,1) issued a two-out free pass to Greyson Jenista but struck out Shea Langeliers in his one hitless frame. Kirby (H,1) tossed two perfect innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced in the seventh and eighth.
In the ninth, Hardy (S,1) walked Trey Harris to start the frame and struck out Jenista for the first out. Langeliers avoided a double play on a fielder’s choice before Lugbauer walked, putting the tying run at second. Hardy then struck out Alexander on a fastball on the inner half of the plate, sealing the no-hitter and the victory for Biloxi.
The Biloxi Shuckers (5-7) scored seven runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 14-10 win over the Mississippi Braves (4-8) on a windy Sunday at MGM Park. With the win, the Shuckers pick up their first series win of the year, taking four of six from the M-Braves.
After RHP Luis Contreras struck out three in the top of the first inning, the Shuckers sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning against a combination of LHP Mitch Stallings (L, 0-2) and RHP Will Latcham. David Fry doubled to start the action, and after a walk, Luis Castro, Alexander Palma and Mitch Longo all recorded RBI singles, putting the Shuckers ahead 3-0. Ryan Aguilar greeted Latcham with a two-RBI single up the middle, and three batters later Fry drove in two for his second hit of the inning, extending the Shuckers advantage to 7-0.
Biloxi tagged on another run in the bottom of the second on a bases loaded walk, one of 12 walks drawn by the Shuckers, putting Biloxi up 8-0. Contreras allowed four runs in the top of the third inning on a pair of two-run homers by Justin Dean and C.J. Alexander, but the righty responded by striking out the final four batters he faced. All told, Contreras struck out 11 batters in four innings of work, setting a new career high.
RHP J.T. Hintzen (W, 1-0) pitched a scoreless inning of relief to pick up his first win in Double-A. RHP Bobby Wahl made his second Major League rehab appearance with Biloxi and allowed three runs in 0.2 innings of work, surrendering a three-run homer to Drew Lugbauer, one of five homers hit by the M-Braves.
The Shuckers moved back in front by seven in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a two-RBI double from Palma and an RBI single from Longo, widening the advantage to 14-7. Palma finished with three RBI and Longo led the Shuckers in hitting, notching three hits and scoring three runs to go along with two RBI and a walk.
Following an off day on Monday, the Shuckers start a six-game series in Tennessee against the Smokies on Tuesday at 6:00 pm CST. Biloxi is scheduled to send RHP Noah Zavolas (0-1, 4.15) to the mound opposite Smokies RHP Matt Swarmer (0-0, 3.68).
After the announcement by Major League Baseball of new guidelines for the 2021 season, the Biloxi Shuckers have announced that seating in the buffer zone at MGM Park will be available starting May 25.
As part of Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols, the first row of seats around the field and two rows of seats around the dugout were marked as a buffer zone at ballparks around the country. Those seats will now be open at MGM Park when the Shuckers open a six-game series against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on Tuesday, May 25 at 6:35 pm.
An on-sale date for tickets in the newly opened areas, including the Sparklight Club and Dugout Clubs seats, will be announced in the near future. There will be two sections of socially distanced pod seating still available for purchase at the MGM Park Box Office prior to the day of the game if fans wish to purchase socially distanced seats.
Additionally, Major League Baseball has lifted the requirement for face coverings at Minor League ballparks, deferring to local and state guidelines. As a result, face coverings will no longer be required for games at MGM Park.
The Biloxi Shuckers are the Double-A Affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The Shuckers play at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi and are members of the Double-A South. For more information, please visit biloxishuckers.com and follow us on Twitter @biloxishuckers and at facebook.com/biloxishuckers
(PHOTOS by Mike Krebs)