BILOXI, MS (BILOXI SHUCKERS) - The Biloxi Shuckers (7-8) split their doubleheader against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (10-5) on Friday night falling 9-1 in Game One before taking Game Two 4-3 at MGM Park.
Starting his third Double-A game, RHP Alec Bettinger (L, 0-1) handled the Blue Wahoos through the first two frames but ran into trouble in the third. Brian Navarreto started the inning with a double and Mark Contreras followed with a walk. Jordan Gore then dropped down a bunt which Bettinger fielded. Attempting to get the lead runner at third, Bettinger overthrew Weston Wilosn, allowing Navarreto to score. Two batters later, Brian Schales connected for a three-run homer, his third of the season, to give Pensacola a 4-0 lead. The Blue Wahoos would add single tallies in the fourth and fifth to go in front 6-0.
RHP Griffin Jax (W, 1-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and allowed just two more base runners until the sixth inning. Trent Grisham started the sixth with an opposite field single and move to second on a walk to Dillon Thomas. Following a Patrick Leonard strikeout, Bruce Caldwell bounced a single through the right side, driving in the Shuckers lone run. Pensacola concluded the scoring in the top of the seventh on a three-run home run by Navarreto, his first of the season. The Blue Wahoos catcher finished Game One 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored.
Biloxi’s offense got out to a hot start in Game Two. In the bottom of the first, Michael O’Neill reached on a throwing error by Schales and promptly swiped second base. C.J. Hinojosa stepped to the plate and laced a single inside of first base, sending O’Neill home to make it 1-0 Shuckers in the first two at bats for the Shuckers. Thomas and Wilson followed with consecutive singles, driving in another run to widen the Shuckers lead to 2-0.
Pensacola had an immediate answer in the top of the second. Mitchell Kranson homered off RHP Johan Belisario and Caleb Hamilton tripled in the ensuing at bat. A Taylor Grzelakowski groundout tied the game at 2-2.
In the third, the top of the lineup combined to give the Shuckers the lead again. O’Neill singled to right and was awarded second on a balk by RHP Andro Cutura. Hinojosa then ripped a single into left, scoring O’Neill to make it 3-2 Biloxi. The Blue Wahoos had an answer yet again in the top of the third when Schales doubled and moved to third on a groundout. LHP Angel Perdomo (W, 1-0) entered the game and uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Schales to score and tie the game. After his wild pitch, Perdomo didn’t make a mistake the rest of the night, throwing 2.1 innings without allowing a base runner and striking out five.
The Shuckers went in front for good in the bottom of the fourth. Caldwell and Max McDowell both drew walks from former Shuckers RHP Jeff Ames (L, 0-1). Batting with two outs, O’Neill dropped a single into left centerfield, driving in Caldwell to make it 4-3 Biloxi. RHP Nate Griep (S, 4) worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning to record his fourth save of the season and 38th career save for the Shuckers.
Biloxi’s ten-game homestand continues with a five-game series against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp starting on Saturday night at 6:35 pm at MGM Park. The Shuckers will send RHP Marcos Diplan (0-1, 8.10) to the mound against Jumbo Shrimp RHP Cody Poteet (1-1, 3.27).