The Biloxi Shuckers were looking for their fourth straight victory Monday night and, thanks to a five run third inning highlighted by a three run double by Lucas Erceg, the Shuckers were victorious over the Montgomery Biscuits, 5-3. Biloxi continues to get outstanding pitching, holding the Biscuits to three runs or less for the fifth straight game. The Shuckers received 4.1 shutout innings of relief to aid the victory.
Montgomery took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one down, Jake Cronenworth walked and scored when Nick Solak double down the left-field line, bringing the runner all the way around from first. That gave the Biscuits the 1-0 lead.
It would stay that way until the third, when Biloxi would score all of their runs for the night. With one down, Jake Hager walked and Dustin Houle followed with a single into right. Corey Ray followed with a double into the gap in right that scored Hager to tie the score. A walk to Troy Stokes, Jr. loaded the bases, bringing Lucas Erceg to the plate. He lined a ball to the wall, clearing the bases to give Biloxi a 4-1 lead. The final run of the inning came home when Jake Gatewood hit a deep ball that was caught at the warning track, just short of a home run. Erceg tagged and scored, and it was 5-1.
After giving up a run in the first, Cody Ponce shut the Biscuits down over the next three innings. However, Montgomery mounted a rally in the fifth, chasing Ponce from the game.
With one down, Thomas Milone lined a double into center. Ponce struck out the next two batters, but a wild pitch allowed Cronenworth to reach first on the strikeout, keeping the inning alive while putting runners at the corners. A base hit by Solak scored Milone and Brett Sullivan followed with the base hit into center that brought home Cronenworth. That cut the Biloxi lead to two. Nick Ramirez came on to retire the final batter of the inning, leaving the Shuckers on top, 5-3.
From there, both bullpens took command of this game. Mike Franco came on for Montgomery and tossed two shutout innings. Kyle Byrd finished out the eighth and ninth innings with scoreless frames.
For Biloxi, Nick Ramirez (2-0) tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits to earn his second victory of the season. Angel Ventura came on in the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame. Quintin Torres-Costa earned his first save of the season by tossing a scoreless ninth inning, striking out two.
Dustin Houle led the Biloxi Shuckers offense, going 2-2 with a run scored and a walk. Lucas Erceg went 1-4 with 3 RBI. Nick Solak had 3 hits and 2 RBI for Montgomery.
All the teams in the Southern League are off on Tuesday. The Biloxi Shuckers (4-1) return to action on Wednesday with their home opener against the Mississippi Braves (3-2). Kyle Wright (0-0, 0.00) will go for Mississippi. He will be opposed by Luis Ortiz (0-0, 3.60). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 local time. Catch all the actions with the two coolest guys in all of minor league broadcasting, Garrett Greene and Spence Siegel.
By Robert Pannier