The Biloxi Shuckers have had solid starting pitching most of this season, and that was on full display Friday night as Wade Miley absolutely dominated the Birmingham Barons in the Shuckers 5-1 victory. Miley struck out 11 in six innings pitched, allowing 2 hits and no runs in earning his first victory of the season. Wendell Rijo had his best game with Biloxi this season, going 2-4 with a run and 2-RBI.
For the second straight night, the Shuckers got on the board first. In the top of the second, Birmingham starter Spencer Adams retired the first two batters of the inning, but Chris Coulter kept the frame alive with his second double of the season. Wendell Rijo followed with a line drive base hit into right field, scoring Coulter and it was 1-0 Biloxi.
The lead became four in the top of the fourth. With one down, Jake Hager and Coulter delivered back-to-back singles. The two moved up on a double steal, and Hager scored on a wild throw by the catcher. Rijo followed with a double into left field that scored Coulter. Two batters later, Troy Stokes, Jr. delivered a clutch two out double to left that brought home Rijo and it was 4-0.
The four runs were plenty enough on this night as Wade Miley (1-1) was absolutely dominant. He allowed runners in each of the first three innings, but then retired seven straight before giving up a walk to start the sixth. However, he picked off the runner, finishing the evening after 6 innings going just one over the limit. He struck out two in each of the first five innings and finished with 11 overall.
In the seventh, the Biloxi Shuckers extended their lead to five. Corey Ray led off the inning with a double and later stole third. He scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-0.
Jon Olczak took over in the bottom half of the inning, and the Barons got on the board. Zack Collins led off the inning with his first triple of the year. Eloy Jimenez followed with a base hit that brought Collins home and it was 5-1. It looked like Birmingham would cut further into that deficit when Seby Zavala followed with a base hit that put two on with no one out. However, Jimenez was thrown on trying to steal third on a controversial call. Olczak then got a ground out before striking out the final batter of the frame. That would make it 5-1, which would be the final.
Wendell Rijo finished 2-4 with a run, double, and 2-RBI for Biloxi. Corey Ray was 2-5 with a run and a double. Danny Mendick had had two of the six hits for Birmingham.
The two teams have split the first two games of this series. Game 3 is tomorrow. Zach Brown (0-0, 5.14) will go for the Shuckers. He will be opposed by Jordan Stephens (1-3, 4.50). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
By Robert Pannier