Shuckers wrap up first-half crown

Published 10:20 am Monday, June 15, 2015

The Biloxi Shuckers started their season with a 55-game road trip. On Sunday, they made sure they’ll play on into September.

Brooks Hall allowed two hits in eight shutout innings, and the Shuckers beat the Mississippi Braves 9-0 at Trustmark Park to clinch the Southern League South Division first half championship.

The Shuckers, who didn’t play a game in Biloxi until early June while their new ballpark was being built, secured a berth in the Southern League playoffs in September.

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The Shuckers won their third straight game against the M-Braves and lead them in the South Division by 6 1/2 games with six to play. The series between the in-state rivals ends tonight at 7, and the first half of the season ends next Sunday.

It’s the second straight season the Brewers’ Double-A affiliate has won the first half title. It also accomplished the feat last year while playing in Huntsville, Ala.

“We can rest easy for the rest of the first half, because we have clinched the half, but that doesn’t mean we will play any less hard,” said Biloxi left fielder Kyle Wren, who went 2-for-5 and scored two runs. “We just want to continue this into the second half.”

Biloxi (39-24) has outscored the M-Braves 22-2 in the last three games, and posted back-to-back shutouts. The M-Braves (32-30) have scored a total of 12 runs and been shut out three times in their last eight games.

Hall (7-3) was the latest pitcher to shackle the Braves. He allowed two hits and a walk, and struck out five during his eight-inning stint.

In his last three starts, all victories, Hall has allowed a total of three earned runs and three walks.

“I’m pitching well right now and being consistent on the mound, throwing strikes,” Hall said. “To throw eight innings like that in a clinching win is just incredible.”

He got plenty of run support, too.

The Shuckers snapped a scoreless tie by scoring five times in the sixth inning. Orlando Arcia drove in the first two runs with a single, then scored on a double by Michael Reed. Tyrone Taylor added an RBI single, and Adam Weisenburger an RBI double.

The Shuckers added three more runs in the top of the seventh to blow it open.

Wren was one of seven Biloxi players with at least two hits. Nathan Orf was 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, Tyalor went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored, and Arcia was 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Biloxi had 16 hits in all, including four doubles.

“We hit the ball hard today and (Hall) was unbelievable on the mound. I am honestly so excited right now, I don’t know what to say,” Taylor said.

The M-Braves will host Biloxi again tonight, then have Tuesday off before beginning a five-game series at Tennessee on Wednesday night to lead into the Southern League all-star break. The All-Star Game is June 23 at Montgomery, Ala.