Ortiz Fans Eight in Home Opener, Shuckers Win Fifth Straight

Ortiz Fans Eight in Home Opener, Shuckers Win Fifth Straight
Shuckers pitcher Luis Ortiz prepares to throw at MGM Park.

BILOXI, MS (Biloxi Shuckers) - The Biloxi Shuckers (5-1) used six scoreless innings from RHP Luis Ortiz (W, 1-0) in Wednesday's opening night 2-0 win at MGM Park over the Mississippi Braves (3-3). The win marks Biloxi's fifth straight and pushes them two games into first place in the South Division during the early stages of the 2018 Southern League season.

The Shuckers plated a run before recording an out in the bottom of the first. Corey Ray singled to start the night and motored to third following a Troy Stokes Jr. knock and a Lucas Erceg walk. Ray then trotted home during Jake Gatewood's at-bat after Braves' catcher Alex Jackson allowed a passed ball to escape behind him.

Ortiz handled his business over six innings-plus, allowing five hits and striking out eight, one shy of tying a career-high. The Braves' best chance against the starter came in the fourth inning. Jackson walked, and Tyler Neslony followed with a sharp single to put the tying run at second. Ortiz escaped the jam quickly when he induced an inning-ending double play off the bat of Tyler Marlette.

The Shuckers' starter gave way to LHP Josh Uhen (H, 1) in the seventh after allowing the first two batters to reach base. Uhen promptly retired the bottom of the order without issue with lineouts from Travis Demeritte and Cleuluis Rondon followed by an authoritative strikeout of pinch-hitter Daniel Lockhart. Uhen also dealt a quick 1-2-3 eighth by handling the top of the Mississippi order.

Ray and Stokes Jr. added the insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when the Louisville product, Ray, tripled, and Stokes Jr. drove him in with a sharp single to left.

RHP Nate Griep (S, 3) left no drama for the ninth when he set down Jackson, Neslony and Marlette in order to pick up his third save of the year.

The Shuckers look to make it six straight on Thursday night when RHP Zack Brown (0-0, 3.60) toes the rubber for Biloxi against the M-Braves' RHP Touki Toussaint (0-1, 16.88).