BILOXI, MS (Biloxi Shuckers) - Jake Gatewood mashed a pair of home runs on Tuesday night in the Biloxi Shuckers' 9-4 exhibition victory over the William Carey Crusaders. Ten different Shuckers' pitchers combined to strike out nine hitters over the seven-inning contest.
The Crusaders jumped on the Shuckers to the tune of a 2-0 lead through an inning and a half. Jake Smith singled in Caleb Ledet with two outs in the first inning against Shuckers' starter RHP Cody Ponce. An inning later, Lucas Scott launched a leadoff home run to left field to extend William Carey's lead.
The Shuckers began their rally in the bottom of the second when Nick Franklin, Corey Ray and Blake Allemand supplied three straight hits. With two outs and the bases loaded, Troy Stokes Jr. peppered a single to left field to plate both Ray and Allemand, handing the Shuckers a 3-2 lead that they would not surrender.
In the bottom of the third, Gatewood put a charge into the first of his two home runs, bruising the left field scoreboard in the process. An inning later, the Shuckers' first baseman stepped up with two outs and two on and cleared the same scoreboard in left for his second home run.
As a mid-game substitute, Dustin Houle added three singles, the third of which drove in Biloxi's final run in the sixth.
Several of Biloxi's ten pitchers posted scoreless outings, but RHP Thomas Jankins was the only reliever to toss multiple innings. The Massachusetts native set down all six batters he faced in the third and fourth inning. RHP Nate Griep showcased the most electric stuff in the seventh inning, highlighted by a mid-90's fastball that struck out the final batter of the game.
Biloxi opens their 2018 campaign on the road against the Montgomery Biscuits on April 5 at 6:35 pm. The Shuckers home opener is on Wednesday, April 11 at 6:35 pm against the Mississippi Braves.