These days, there are three things you can be sure of Biloxi, Mississippi: it will be 100 degrees virtually every day in July, the queen bumblebee will come out of hibernation in early spring, and Thomas Jankins will be on the winning side of a ballgame each time he pitches. At least, that is the way it seems this season, as the right-hander won his fourth game of 2018 in the Biloxi Shuckers 5-2 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits. That gave the Shuckers their third series victory of the season.
Montgomery got to the Biloxi starter in the first, plating a run to take the early lead. Back to back singles by Nathan Lukes and Ryan Boldt got the game started, and Nick Solak followed with a base hit, scoring Lukes to make it 1-0. That put runners at first and second with no one out, but Thomas Jankins induced a double play before striking out Brandon Lowe to end the threat.
Benton Moss got out of a jam in the bottom of the first by striking out the side, and he had 5 Ks through the first two frames. In the third, the Shuckers would finally plate a run to tie the score. Troy Stokes, Jr. doubled with one out, his seventh of the season already. Jake Hager followed with a base hit to put runners at the corners, and a sacrifice fly by Nick Franklin brought home Stokes to tie the score at one.
In the fifth, Biloxi took the lead. Corey Ray started the inning with a base hit and moved to third on a single by Hager. Two batters later, Blake Allemand delivered a sacrifice fly that brought Ray home, putting the Shuckers up 2-1.
The lead became two in the next frame. Travis Ott took over for Moss and Dylan Moore greeted him with a shot down the line in left for his second homer of the year.
The Biscuits would get one of those runs back in the top of the seventh, and threatened to get back on top. Lowe began the inning by hitting his third home run of the season over the wall in right-center. Mac James and Michael Brosseau followed with back to back singles and the go ahead run was at first base.
That would be it for Jankins (4-0). The right-hander went 6-plus innings. He allowed 8 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 6.
Jon Olczak came on looking to end the threat and he came up big. Jermaine Palacios attempted to move both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice, but the Shuckers reliever was able to get him to pop out. A double play then ended the threat with Biloxi on top by one.
In the eighth, the Biloxi Shuckers gave themselves a little room. Allemand started the inning with a base hit, and Jake Gatewood followed with his team leading fourth homer of the year to make it 5-2.
In the ninth, Nate Griep came on looking to close it out. He gave up a lead-off double to Lowe, but then retired the side for his seventh save of the season.
Jake Hager was 3-4, giving him his third game with at least 3-hits out of his last 10. Blake Allemand was 2-3 with a run and an RBI, and Gatewood had a homer and 2-RBI. Four different Montgomery players had 2-hits in the game, including Brandon Lowe, who was 2-4 with a run, a homer, and an RBI.
The Biloxi Shuckers (13-7) head back to the road, traveling to Birmingham where they will begin a five-game series against the Barons on Thursday night. Cody Ponce (1-1, 4.41) will go for Biloxi.
By Robert Pannier