BILOXI, Miss. (Biloxi Shuckers) - In another spectacular showing of starting pitching, the Biloxi Shuckers (22-20) rallied behind six scoreless innings from Johan Belisario (W, 3-0) and combined for a pair of multi-run innings to top the Chattanooga Lookouts (21-19) 7-1 on Friday night at MGM Park. Belisario’s effort marked the fourth consecutive scoreless start by a starting pitcher and pushes the Shuckers within four games of first place in the Southern League South Division.
The right-hander from Venezuela worked around a leadoff double from TJ Friedl and proceeded to aid in his own cause on the offensive end. Bruce Caldwell provided the opening run in the second inning with an RBI groundout after Patrick Leonard and Luis Aviles Jr. strung together a pair of hits. With Aviles Jr. on third, Belisario poked a hustle bunt single down the first base line to give Biloxi a 2-0 advantage. The base hit and RBI were the first of Belisario’s career.
Returning to the hill, the 25-year-old Belisario worked around a leadoff single in the third, stranded two in scoring position in the fourth, and closed his night with a pair of perfect innings while striking out six.
For added insurance, three more runs crossed against Chattanooga starter Tejay Antone (L, 4-3) in the sixth inning. Aviles reached on a throwing error by Antone and Bruce Caldwell put runners on the corners with a single. Max McDowell continued the effective use of small ball and scored Aviles with a squeeze bunt to make it 3-0. Pincher-hitter Cooper Hummel proceeded to lace an RBI double to left center and Trent Grisham capped the inning with a single that brought Hummel home for a 6-0 cushion.
Jake Gatewood’s sacrifice fly in the eighth capped Biloxi’s scoring at 7-0 while the bullpen nearly closed out a third straight shutout victory. With two outs in the ninth, Cody Ponce issued a two-out walk to Brantley Bell and Calten Daal broke up the shutout with an RBI single, capping the game at 7-1.