Barons Falter in Season-Opening Doubleheader against Biloxi
BILOXI, MS - The Birmingham Barons (0-2) slipped up in their Opening Day doubleheader Friday against the Biloxi Shuckers (2-0) at MGM Park.
The Barons original Opening Day on Thursday was rained out and moved to a doubleheader the next day, with game one beginning at 5:35 p.m.
GAME 1 - Despite a three-hit effort from Joel Booker, the Barons dropped their season opener to the Biloxi Shuckers by a 5-3 final.
The Barons showed a patient approach at the plate and drew nine walks in the game. However, Biloxi used the strength of a pair of home runs to pull ahead early and worked around the free passes to secure the win.
Barons left-hander Tanner Banks (L, 0-1) suffered the loss and surrendered five runs on seven hits in four innings of work.
After Alfredo Gonzalez put the Barons on the board with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, Booker attempted to spark a comeback with an RBI-single through the right side. The base knock marked one of three for Booker, who burst onto the scene in Birmingham with hits in seven of his first nine at-bats during the 2018 season.
Booker plated his second run of the game with a double to center in the fourth. However, the Barons could not draw any closer than 5-3 against Biloxi's bullpen. Shuckers right-hander Nate Griep (SV, 1) worked a scoreless seventh inning to collect the save.
Blake Rutherford, ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization, went 1-for-4 in his debut at the Double-A level.
Barons right-hander Danny Dopico tossed a pair of scoreless frames and struck out four in relief.
Shuckers right-hander Devin Williams (W, 1-0), who worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third with no damage, earned the win.
GAME 2 - Biloxi rattled off five more runs in game two and were led by strong pitching in a 5-0 victory.
The right-hander Supak, the Milwaukee Brewers No. 11 prospect, held the Barons to just two hits in his six innings pitched. Supak earned his seventh win as a Shucker, dating back to 16 starts with Biloxi last season.
Barons right-hander Jimmy Lambert surrendered two runs in the first inning, including a wild pitch, but he settled down and finished his outing retiring his last nine batters.
With Birmingham still within striking distance down 2-0, Biloxi created distance in the fifth. After a sacrifice fly, right fielder Dillon Thomas broke it open with a two-run single off Barons left-hander Brian Clark to make it a five-run advantage for the home team.
The Barons had chances to get on the board. Shortstop Ramon Torres led off the third with a triple but was caught in a rundown on a ground ball to third from Booker.
Later in the inning, Micker Adolfo, the White Sox No. 8 prospect, hit a sharp grounder to third, but Biloxi third baseman Weston Wilson made a good snag and began a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.
After first baseman Gavin Sheets, the White Sox No. 18 prospect, reached on a fielder's choice, Ti'Quan Forbes and Torres walked to load the bases in the seventh. However, the rally was killed with Booker popping out to end the game.
The Shuckers moved to 11-3-13 all time in doubleheaders, including 8-1-8 at home.
The Barons and Shuckers will resume their five-game opening series Saturday night. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and left-handed pitcher Bernardo Flores (8-9, 2.65 ERA in 2018) will get the start for Birmingham.
Listen to the game at WJOX-AM 690. Fans can tune into the Coca-Cola Pregame Show on WJOX at 6:20 p.m.
The Barons will conclude their road trip Monday in Biloxi before an off-day Tuesday. Birmingham's home opener at Regions Field is set for Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Tennessee Smokies, affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
The Birmingham Barons are the proud Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The Barons will open the home portion of their 2019 season, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of Michael Jordan's lone year in baseball, against the Tennessee Smokies at 7:05 p.m. April 10 at Regions Field. For ticket information, game schedule, promotions calendar or additional information about Regions Field, please visit https://barons.com or call (205) 988-3200.
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