M-Braves halt skid vs. Shuckers

Published 12:04 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

With one big swing, the Mississippi Braves finally gained the upper hand against their in-state rival.

Rio Ruiz hit a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning, and the M-Braves worked out of a jam in the bottom half to beat the Biloxi Shuckers 4-3 Friday night in Biloxi.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the M-Braves against the team from the Coast. Biloxi has won five of the 13 meetings between the teams so far this season. They’ll play 10 more times this season, in a five-game series in Biloxi Aug. 7-11 and a five-game series in Pearl Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.

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Biloxi seemed poised to take its seventh straight from the M-Braves when it scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 3-2 lead.

The runs all came with two outs, and all on errors. Michael Reed reached on a throwing error that allowed two runs to score. An errant pickoff throw and a wild throw to third by right fielder David Rohm brought in the go-ahead run.

The M-Braves, however, rallied against Shuckers reliever Mike Strong.

Eric Garcia, whose error opened the floodgates in the eighth, redeemed himself by leading off with a double to right field. Ruiz, who had entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, then homered to left field to put Mississippi back in front.

The Shuckers put two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, and got them into scoring position with a double steal. Nathan Orf, however, lined out to Garcia at second base to end the game.

Tyler Jones worked out of the jam for his ninth save of the season. He struck out two batters and walked one in the ninth.

Emerson Landoni had two hits for the M-Braves, and Kevin Ahrens hit a two-run home run in the second inning for an early 2-0 lead. It was Ahrens’ second home run of the season.

The M-Braves return to Trustmark Park tonight to start a five-game series with the Jackson Generals. The game begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a postgame fireworks show.