If there is one thing we have learned early on this season in the Southern League, it is that these Biloxi Shuckers can pitch. That was on display on Sunday as Thomas Jankins tossed seven scoreless innings, combining with Brad Kuntz on the 6 hit shutout, as the Shuckers downed the Montgomery Biscuits, 8-0. That is the fourth straight contest to start the year where the Shuckers staff yielded three runs or less.
After a scoreless first inning, Biloxi would take the lead in the top of the second. Blake Allemand walked to start the frame, bringing Trent Grisham to the plate. Grisham launched a ball down the right field line that just hooked foul, then clubbed a two run homer the opposite way to put the Shuckers up 2-0.
The lead became three in the fourth. Dylan Moore singled with one out, then stole second. Jake Hager followed with a double into the left that scored Moore to make it 3-0.
In the sixth, Corey Ray laced a pitch to the wall in right, running hard out of box and reaching third for his first triple of the year. Two batters later, Lucas Erceg singled into right to bring home Ray to make it 4-0.
Biloxi added two more runs in the seventh. Tyler Heineman walked with one down and scored when Moore followed with a double that brought Heineman all the way around from first. A wild pitch moved Moore to third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Hager.
The run support was far more than what Thomas Jankins (1-0) needed on Sunday afternoon. The right-hander was in complete command all day long, never allowing more than one runner to reach base in the same inning. Twice a Biscuits runner reached third, both with two down, but Jankins denied them a run in each instance. He left after seven, allowing 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 6.
The Biloxi Shuckers added insurance runs in each of the final two innings of the contest. In the eighth, Jake Gatewood drilled a line drive over the left field wall for his first home run of the season. Moore sent his first homer of the year over the wall in left-center with two outs in the ninth.
Brad Kuntz came on in the eighth for Biloxi. He gave up a hit in each of the final two frames, but preserved the shutout, striking out 3.
Dylan Moore continues his red-hot start to the season, going 3-4 with 3 runs, a double, homer, and 2 RBI. The second baseman is hitting .417 and has at least one hit in all three games he has appeared in this season. Lucas Erceg also had 3 hits while driving in a run. Trent Grisham and Jake Hager each drove in 2 runs for the Shuckers.
The Biloxi Shuckers (3-1) complete the five-game series in Montgomery tomorrow. Cody Ponce will make his first start of the season for Biloxi. Montgomery has not named their starter. First pitch is 6:35 local time.
By Robert Pannier