BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Behind great pitching and a disciplined approach at the plate, the Biloxi Shuckers (37-25) picked up their third consecutive victory on Saturday night, topping the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (36-26) 5-2 at MGM Park. With the win, the Shuckers are now in sole possession of first place in the South Division of the Southern League, leading the Blue Wahoos by one game with eight games left in the first half.
Pensacola drew first blood in the contest. Outfielder Jaylin Davis connected for a solo home run off RHP Johan Belisario (W, 6-0) in the top of the fourth inning, Davis’ ninth of the year, to put the Blue Wahoos up 1-0. Belisario pitched around the Pensacola offense the rest of the night, allowing just five total hits over five innings of work.
In the home half of the fifth, the Shuckers took the lead with some patient at bats. C.J. Hinojosa started the inning with a ringing double off the left-field wall before Max McDowell drew a walk. Luis Aviles Jr. then bunted his way on bases, chasing Blue Wahoos LHP Charlie Barnes (L, 0-1) from the game. New hurler RHP Tom Hackimer entered and issued a five-pitch walk to Trent Grisham, forcing in the tying run. Jake Gatewood then worked a seven-pitch walk to bring in the go-ahead run, putting the Shuckers in front 2-1.
RHP Nattino Diplan (H,1) worked one scoreless frame and RHP Marcos Diplan (H,2) worked into the top of the eighth. Diplan ran into trouble when he walked two batters with two outs in the inning, bringing RHP Luke Barker (S,8) out of the bullpen. The righty struck out both batters he faced, stranding the tying run at second base.
The Shuckers offense gave Barker some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth. Patrick Leonard doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a single by Weston Wilson. Dillon Thomas then hit an automatic double to right, plating Leonard to make it 3-1 Biloxi. Hinojosa was intentionally walked to load the bases, bringing up McDowell, who laced a double to left, driving in two more to put the Shuckers out in front 5-1. Barker came out and finished the game in the ninth, allowing a run after a two-out walk and a double.