BILOXI, MS (Biloxi Shuckers) - After watching a three-run lead evaporate in the middle innings, the Biloxi Shuckers (3-2) and Birmingham Barons (2-3) stayed knotted until the final frame of Monday's series conclusion at MGM Park. The difference maker was a pair of critical errors down the stretch as the Shuckers suffered their first blown lead of the season in a 5-3 defeat.
In his first career Double-A start, Virginia product Alec Bettinger cruised out of the gate with four scoreless innings and was cushioned by an early lead. Blake Allemand ripped his first home run of the season on a line to left in the first and Dillon Thomas doubled and scored on a fielding error from Laz Rivera. Thomas finished the game 3-for-4 with three doubles, scoring once more in the third on a Luis Aviles Jr. two-bagger to make it 3-zip.
Bettinger lost his feel in the fifth surrendering a double to Alfredo Gonzalez before walking Mitch Roman and Luis Gonzalez to load the bases. Following a conference on the mound, Micker Adolfo connected with a ringing three-run double to right field, tying the game. Bettinger completed five innings in a no-decision before turning the game over to Johan Belisario and Daniel Brown who combined for three scoreless innings from the bullpen.
Unable to break the tie in the sixth, Trent Grisham bounced into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. Thomas would roll into another double-play with a man on third in the seventh, ending the Shuckers threat.
Closer Nate Griep (L, 0-1) entered in the ninth and walked the leadoff man Ti’Quan Forbes before Weston Wilson misplayed a ground ball to put two in scoring position for Birmingham. Mitch Roman reach on a bunt and errant throw from Griep and Luis Gonzales followed it up with the game-winning two-run single.
After a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Barons reliever Mauricio Cabrera (W, 1-0) battled control issues in the ninth, walking two and plunking Allemand to load the bases. Cooper Hummel stepped to the dish and lifted a fly to center, ending the game.
Following a day off on Tuesday the Shuckers will travel to Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery for their first series meeting with the Biscuits (2-2). RHP Marcos Diplan (0-0, 10.80) is scheduled to start for the Shuckers and be opposed by LHP Brendan McKay (0-0, -.--) with first pitch at 6:35 pm.