A night after watching Wade Miley dominate his team, Birmingham Barons starter Jordan Stephens put on a show of his own, allowing 3-hits and no earned runs in 5-innings, and Ryan Burr and Ian Hamilton each tossed two scoreless innings as the Barons soared over the Biloxi Shuckers, 4-2. Tito Polo has 2-hits and scored 2-runs and Eloy Jimenez drove in all the runs for Birmingham in the victory.
The Barons took the lead in their first at-bats of the contest. Tito Polo led off the game with a drive to the wall that he legged out for his third triple of the season. After Zack Collins walked, Eloy Jimenez hit into a fielder’s choice that brought Polo home to make it 1-0.
It was stay that way until the third when Birmingham extended their lead to four. Polo got the rally started again by laying down a perfect bunt and beating it out for a base hit. Biloxi starter Wulder Rodriguez attempted to throw out Polo, but his throw was wild, allowing Polo to reach second on the error. Collins followed with a base hit that moved Polo to third. That brought Eloy Jimenez to the plate, who crushed a deep drive over the center field wall for a three run homer, his third homer of the season. That made it 4-0.
While the Barons were putting runs on the board, Jordan Stephens was rolling through the contest. He gave up a one out single in the first, then retired the next six batters before giving up a two out hit in the third. Through the first four innings, the Birmingham starter allowed just 2-hits and a walk, but the Shuckers would finally get some runs across the board in the fifth.
With one down, Jake Hager singled to center and Clint Coulter followed with a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Wendell Rijo walked to load the bases. Stephens struck out Corey Ray for the second out and looked like he would make it through the inning unscathed, inducing a ground ball to third, but an error allowed Troy Stokes. Jr. to reach and two runners to cross home plate to make this a two run game.
Jordan Stephens (2-3) came out after 5-innings. He allowed 3-hits and 3-walks. Two runs scored against the Birmingham starter but both runs were unearned. He struck out 7.
In the sixth, Ryan Burr came on and he held the lead, thanks in part to a nice running catch by Jameson Fisher. In the seventh, Burr retired the first two batters before Ray doubled to keep the inning alive. Stokes followed with a walk, putting the tying run at first. That brought Lucas Erceg to the plate, who drilled a ball deep to the wall in left field, but Fisher went back to the wall to make a nice catch to end the threat.
Rodriguez (0-1) came out after five innings and Nick Ramirez came on for the Shuckers. Ramirez was brilliant, going 2.1 innings, striking out 6 including four in a row.
Ian Hamilton came on for Birmingham in the eighth, and he closed the door. The reliver was perfect through his two frames, earning his fourth save of the season.
Tito Polo finished 2-4 with 2- runs and a triple. Eloy Jimenez drove all 4 runs for the Barons. No Biloxi hitter had more than a single hit.
The fourth game of this five game set is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM. Adrian Houser (0-0, 5.40) will go for the Shuckers.
By Robert Pannier