It was the home opener for the Biloxi Shuckers which included a fireworks display following the game. It was nice that the team provided fireworks following the contest because there was little action offensively during the contest, as Biloxi Shuckers starter Luis Ortiz completely silenced the Mississippi Braves bats, blanking them over six innings and combining with two relievers on a 5-hitter in the 2-0 victory. That moved Biloxi to 5-1 on the season and is the sixth straight game where the team has given up three or fewer runs.
This was a game of beginnings and endings, as Biloxi scored their runs in their first at bat and last at-bat of the game, with a whole lot of zeros occurring in between.
In the bottom of the first, Corey Ray led off with the base hit into right field and moved to second when Troy Stokes, Jr. followed with a base hit of his own. After Lucas Erceg walked, a passed ball allowed Ray to score to give the Shuckers the 1-0 lead. There was still no one out with runners at second and third, but Mississippi starter Kyle Wright really came up big, striking out Jake Gatewood and Trent
Grisham before getting Blake Allemand to ground out to end the inning.
From there, it was an unbelievable pitchers duel. Luis Ortiz (1-0) kept the Braves off balance all evening. He scattered five hits over his six innings of work, walking two and striking out eight. Only three times in the contest did Mississippi place runners as far as second base, and twice they had two runners on, but both times Ortiz induced a double play to get himself out of any trouble. The Biloxi starter also recorded his first professional hit.
Wright was pitching nearly as well. After giving up two hits in the first, he would only give up two more over the next three innings. In the fifth, Mississippi turned their bullpen and got four outstanding innings combined from West Parsons, Enderson Franco, and Michael Mader.
The Biloxi Shuckers bullpen looked even more impressive. Josh Uhen came on in the seventh-inning and tossed to perfect innings, striking out two. Nate Griep came on in the ninth and tossed his first 1-2-3 inning of the year to record his third save of the season.
Biloxi did give Griep a little breathing room heading into the top of the ninth. In the bottom of the eighth, Ray led off with a triple down the line in left field. Stokes followed with a base hit to score Ray to make it 2-0, which was the final.
Corey Ray and Troy Stokes, Jr. combined for four of the five hits that Biloxi produced on the night. Ray scored both runs and Stokes had the only RBI. Tyler Neslony had two of the five hits that Mississippi recorded.
Tomorrow these two teams will square off again. Touki Toussaint (0-1, 16.88) goes for Mississippi. He will be opposed by Zack Brown (0-0, 3.60).
By Robert Pannier