On a hot muggy Labor Day afternoon at MGM Park the Biloxi Shuckers bounced back from a 2-0 setback in game one of a doubleheader against Tennessee to beat the Smokies 3-2 in game two.
The Shuckers win secured the best overall record in the Southern League, giving Biloxi a 78-59 record. In game two Tyler Wagner claimed the league's ERA title at 2/25 and manager Carlos Subero established a new career high in wins.
The Shuckers begin postseason play Thursday night at 7:10 at MGM Park, game one of the best-of-five Division series against Pensacola. Biloxi captured the first half title and the BlueWahoos are the South Division second half champion.
Tennessee beat Biloxi 2-0 in game one on Monday. Josh Hader (1-4) stared the game for the Shuckers and was coasting until the fourth inning. He hit Bijan Rademacher to start the inning and gave up back-to-back singles to Wilson Contreras and Jeimer Candelario to load the bases. Hader walked Dan Vogelbach that plated Rademacher to give the Smokes a 1-0 advantage.
Hader gave up only that one run on four hits, two walks and six strikeouts. In 38.2 innings with the Shuckers, Hader has tossed 49 strikeouts and only 11 walks in seven games. In four of his last five starts, the Shuckers have been shutout.
The Shuckers had only 1 hit with 11 runners in scoring position and stranded seven on base.
Biloxi won game two 3-2 before a crowd of 3,041 at MGM Park. Tyrone Taylor struck out to lead off the second inning. He reached safely on a wild pitched. After Taylor stole second, Nick Ramirez ripped the ball off the right field walk on a 3-2 pitch and Taylor gave the Shuckers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third, the Smokies plated two runs off Biloxi pitcher Tyler Wagner. He pitched five innings in his final start of the regular season, gave up two runs on five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. The Las Vegas native finished the regular season with a 2.25 ERA, one one-hundredth of a point better than teammate Jorge Lopez to claim the Southern League ERA crown.
The Shuckers regained the lead in the sixth. Garrett Cooper walked and raced down to third base on a single off the bat of Josh Fellhauer. With the bases loaded Adam Weisenburger walked to force in the tying run. Pinch hitter Taylor Green also drew a walk and that proved to be the winning run.
Manager Carlos Subero, his coaching staff and players will take a much-deserved two days off before opening the first-round of the playoffs with the Pensacola BlueWahoos Thursday night at 7:10 at MGM Park. Game two will also be played in Biloxi beginning Friday night at 7:10.
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