If the Biloxi Shuckers don’t hear the name Matt Thaiss ever again, it will be a welcome sight. For the second time in three games, Thaiss delivered a walk-off RBI in the 1oth to give the Mobile BayBears the victory. Thursday night, he helped to complete a dramatic comeback, as the BayBears won 2-1. The loss was the third straight for Biloxi.
This was a contest of very little offense and fantastic pitching. After neither team scored in the first, Biloxi took the lead in the top of the second against Mobile starter Jesus Castillo. Nick Franklin let off the inning with a base hit and moved to second on a walk by Jake Gatewood. Two batters later, Jake Hager grounded a ball up the middle to score Franklin and give the Shuckers the 1-0 lead.
That would be all the run support that Biloxi could muster on the night. Castillo left with two outs in the fifth after reaching his pitch count. Matt Custred came on and was dominant, allowing one hit over 2.1 innings pitched. Vincente Campos came on in the eighth and tossed two scoreless innings, striking out four.
While the Shuckers were finding no success against the Mobile staff, the BayBears were not having any better luck against the hurlers for Biloxi. Adrian Houser started the game, and tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless ball before being replaced by Kodi Medeiros.
Medeiros has been brilliant since joining the Shuckers and that proved to be the case on Thursday night as well. The left-hander allowed just one hit in five innings of work, striking out four.
Nate Griep came on with one out in the eighth looking for his sixth save of the season. He breezed through the eighth, but found himself in trouble in the ninth. After striking out the first batter of the frame, Connor Justus walked before Riley Unroe laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line that he legged out for a single. Brendon Sanger followed with a base hit into right field that scored Justus and the game was headed to extra innings.
Biloxi was unable to get a run in the top half of the frame, setting up another dramatic opportunity for Matt Thaiss. With Brennon Lund at second base to start the inning, a wild pitch by Brad Kuntz moved the runner to third. Thaiss then followed with a ground single into right field, easily scoring Lund to give the Mobile BayBears the 2-1 victory.
Thaiss has 5 RBI over the last three games, including a three run homer on Wednesday night. Jeremy Rhoades (1-0) earned the victory with a perfect inning in the 10th, while Kuntz (0-2) took the loss. Troy Stokes, Jr. saw his eight game hitting streak come to an end.
The Biloxi Shuckers not only dropped their third straight game, but lost their first series of the season. The final contest of this five-game set is scheduled for Friday night. Thomas Jankins (2-0, 2.08) will look for his third victory of the season for Biloxi. He will be opposed by Luis Peña (0-1, 4.32).
By Robert Pannier