The Biloxi Shuckers headed back to the road a night after seeing their eight-game win streak come to an end. They got another outstanding pitching performance, as Cody Ponce allowed just one run in 5.2 innings pitched, but it was Jake Hager “the Terrible” who proved to be the bad guest, rapping out 3 hits, including his first homer of the year, as the Shuckers downed the Mobile BayBears, 5-1.
The Biloxi Shuckers took the lead with single runs in each of the first two innings. Corey Ray got it started when he led off the game with his third triple of the season. Troy Stokes, Jr. followed with a drive to the way that he legged out for a double, easily scoring Ray and it was 1-0.
In the top of the second, Mobile starter Dylan Unsworth retired the first two batters of the inning, but Jake Hager turned on a pitch and drilled it down the line in left for his first home run of the season. That made it 2-0 Shuckers.
After a scoreless third inning, the Biloxi Shuckers extended their lead to three in the fourth. Once again, the first two batters of the frame would be retired, but Dylan Moore kept the inning alive by laying down a bunt that he beat out for a base hit. After stealing second, Moore scored when Hager grounded a double down the line in left field to make it 3-0.
In the sixth, the Shuckers gave their starter some additional cushion. Vincente Campos came on for the BayBears and was greeted by a blast off the bat of Blake Allemand that sailed over the wall in right-center for his first homer of the year.
Cody Ponce was brilliant on the hill for the Shuckers. He allowed lone singles in each of the first three innings of the contest, and then allowed a walk in the fourth and fifth. Mobile was mounting nothing against the Biloxi starter, but they would final get on the board in the bottom of the sixth.
Brennon Lund started the inning with a line drive that went over the head of Ray and to the wall. Lund ran hard out of the box, legging out a triple. Two batters later he scored on a sacrifice fly to reduce the deficit to three.
After a walk, the night for Ponce () was over. Nick Ramirez came on and retired the final batter of the inning. The Biloxi starter went 5.2 innings, allowing 4-hits, 3-walks, and a run. He struck out 5.
The Shuckers responded right away with a run in the top of the seventh to extend the lead back to four. With one down, Stokes drilled a ball to the wall in center that he legged out for his first triple of the year. Lucas Erceg followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 5-1.
The Shuckers looked to add to their lead in the ninth when they loaded the baes with no one out. However, Jeremy Rhoades induced the 3-2-3 double-play before getting a fly ball to end the threat.
In the bottom half of the inning, the BayBears looked to mount their own rally. The first two batters of the inning reached against Jon Olczak, but the Biloxi reliever struck out the next two batters before getting a pop out to end the game.
Jake Hager finished 3-4 with a run, double, home run, and 2 RBI. Corey Ray was 3-5 with a run, double, and triple. That is his fifth game in his last six with multiple hits. Troy Stokes, Jr. was 3-4 with 2 doubles, a run, a triple, and an RBI. Stokes extended his hit streak to six games. Nick Ramirez continues to be brilliant out of the bullpen, tossing 2.1 scoreless innings. Brennon Lund was 3-3 with a run and a triple for Mobile.
These two teams will square off again tomorrow night. Luis Ortiz (1-0, 1.64) will go for the Biloxi Shuckers. Mobile has not named their starter. First pitch is 7:05.
By Robert Pannier