Small Strikes out 12 in Pitchers Duel against M-Braves
BILOXI, MS - In a game that featured dueling aces, the Mississippi Braves (19-16) topped the Biloxi Shuckers (13-22) 3-0 on Saturday night at MGM Park.
In his first start since he was named the Double-A South Pitcher of the Week, LHP Ethan Small (L, 1-2) continued his dominating run, retiring the first ten M-Braves batters in order. The first of his five allowed hits came in the top of the fourth on a slow grounder to short by Riley Unroe, ending Small's hitless streak against the M-Braves at 8.1 innings. Small responded by striking out the next two hitters, giving his seven strikeouts through four frames.
The Shuckers' southpaw allowed a single to start the fifth inning, but two pitches later coaxed a double-play ball out of Wendell Rijo, the third double play Small has induced in his last two outings. He then struck out the side in the sixth, moving him to ten strikeouts on the night.
Small ran into the only trouble of the night in the top of the seventh. After allowing a leadoff single to Shea Langeliers, Small struck out C.J. Alexander looking and got Trey Harris swinging, giving Small 12 punchouts on the night. Rijo then worked a walk, and Jefrey Ramos singled to right field, driving in Langeliers to give the M-Braves a 1-0 lead, ending the night for Small. The former Mississippi State ace set a new career high with 6.2 innings pitched and tied the Shuckers' franchise record for strikeouts in a game, matching the mark set by Alec Bettinger, Bowden Francis, Freddy Peralta and Taylor Jungmann. Small also induced 28 swings and misses as part of his career outing and is now second in the Double-A South with 58 strikeouts on the year.
Mississippi added on two more in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by Langeliers, his ninth of the season. For the M-Braves, RHP Nolan Kingham (W, 3-1) kept the Shuckers off balance throughout the night, allowing just four hits and not walking a batter. Payton Henry recorded three knocks against the Mississippi starter, going 3-for-4 with a double.
In the ninth, Tyler Friis started the inning with a single and moved to second on a groundout. Henry then grounded out to short for the second out in the inning, and Kingham was removed from the ballgame at 91 pitches. RHP Kurt Hoekstra (S, 1) walked Alexander Palma, bringing Mitch Longo to the plate as the tying run, but the Shuckers' outfielder grounded out, bringing the ball game to a close.
Biloxi concludes their six-game series with the M-Braves on Sunday afternoon at MGM Park. The Shuckers are set to send RHP Noah Zavolas (2-2, 6.18) to the mound against M-Braves' LHP Hayden Deal (1-2, 4.05) for a 1:05 pm first pitch. The game can be heard locally on Cruisin' WGCM AM 1240/FM 100.9, online here or on the MiLB App.
Individual tickets are on sale now for all 2021 Shuckers home games and promotions for June can be found here. Full Shuck Nation Memberships and Half Shell Shuck Nation Memberships, flex plans and group outings are available by calling 228-233-3465 and selecting Option 3.
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