Ahrens, Ruiz Blast M-Braves past Shuckers

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, July 4, 2015

Biloxi – Rio Ruiz hit his first double-A home run, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

With the Mississippi Braves trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning, he left the yard the opposite way to left, a two-run blast to send the M-Braves to a 4-3 win over the Biloxi Shuckers Friday night, avoiding the three-game sweep.

The final inning heroics came on the heels of a catastrophic eighth, in which three errors led to three Shuckers (5-3; 48-28) unearned runs for a 3-2 lead.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Dave Peterson (1-0) in his second double-A relief appearance walked Josh Fellhauer to start the eighth with the M-Braves ahead 2-0. After striking out Nathan Orf and Nick Shaw, Orlando Arcia reached on an infield hit and stole second base to put runners at second and third.

Michael Reed grounded a hard one hopper to second that Eric Garcia couldn’t handle, a two-run error to tie the game 2-2. Peterson tried to pick off Reed at first but threw the ball away, and Garcia kicked the ball down the right field line for two errors on the same play. Reed scored from first to take a 3-2 Shuckers lead.

The Braves (4-4; 37-39) came right back in the ninth. Garcia doubled to start the inning against reliever Mike Strong (3-1), and Ruiz came through with his first M-Braves blast.

It was the second home run of the game for the M-Braves, the first time the Braves homered twice in the same game since April 26 at Mobile. The first came off the bat of Kevin Ahrens, his second of the year, a two-run shot in the second inning off starter Hobbs Johnson.

Johnson took a no-decision, allowing two runs on two hits but walking six and hitting a batter over five innings. Steve Janas threw well in his double-A debut for the Braves, hurling 5 2/3 shutout innings on just three Shuckers knocks. He extended his scoreless streak to 28 2/3 innings combined between Mississippi and advanced class-A Carolina.

Peterson blew his first save, but picked up his first victory, while Strong blew his second save and suffered his first loss.

Tyler Jones (S, 9) extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings, stranding the tying and winning runs in scoring position in the ninth for his ninth save of the year.

The win ended a Braves six-game losing streak to the Shuckers dating to June 12.

Now the M-Braves return home for a five-game series with the Jackson Generals, beginning with Saturday night’s Independence Day celebration.

By M-Braves Sports Media Relations