The Shuckers went up against the Mobile BayBears and former Brewers farmhand Anthony Banda in Biloxi on Tuesday night. The game was a pitcher’s duel that wound up going 13 innings before Jacob Nottingham launched a walk-off bomb to send Biloxi off with a 201 victory. Here are a few of my notes from Tuesday’s action in Biloxi.
Tyrone Taylor – Taylor reached base four times out of the leadoff spot. He ripped a single right back up the middle his first time up then picked up an infield single in second at-bat. He hit the ball hard again in his third trip to the plate, but it was right at the third baseman who threw him out at first. He got payback his next time up however, blooping a single in the eighth. Taylor pulls the ball quite often and bounced to third to lead off the bottom of the tenth inning, but reached when the throw to first was low and in the dirt, and then grounded out to third again in the twelfth.
Nate Orf – Orf just finds ways to get on base from the number two spot in the lineup. He drew walks in each of his first two trips to the plate, then walked for a third time in the eighth inning. He was at third base tonight and played sound defensively, as he usually does no matter where on the diamond he lines up.
Brett Phillips – Phillips chased a slider low and away to strike out in his first at bat, then struck out again his next time up as well. He singled to right in the fifth but some ill-advised base running got him thrown out at second as he tried to stretch it to a double.
Jacob Nottingham – Nottingham scuffled at the plate for most of the night, but one swing of the bat made up for it all, as he walked off the Shuckers with a 13th inning blast that he crushed to left field. He was intentionally walked to load the bases in one at bat but other than that didn’t do much offensively prior to his game winning blast. He spent all 13 innings behind the plate and played well defensively.
Garrett Cooper – A hard-hit ball to third resulted in an out in Cooper’s first time up, but he came up clutch with a two out RBI single in the third on an opposite field hopper that got into right field. He put together a nice, twelve pitch at-bat in 8th drawing a walk and worked another walk to lead off the bottom of the 11th.
Victor Roache – Roache got off to a good start to the game, ripping a double in his first at bat, but was quiet after that, finishing 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. He still struggles with offspeed stuff and waved at a breaking ball out of the zone for a punchout in the 8th in a key situation with the bases loaded. Defensively he came up with a nice grab of a sinking looper to shallow left.
Javier Betancourt – Betancourt appears over-matched at times at the plate. He chased a fastball for a strikeout in first at-bat, then K’d again in second trip to the plate, and went down looking for a third time in the ninth. He showed off a strong arm, throwing out Mitch Haniger from deep in the hole to end the top of the tenth inning and picked up his lone hit of the game when he served one into left in the eleventh.
Chris McFarland – McFarland hit a hard smash to second base in his first at-bat and it looked like he beat it, but he was called out at first (replays showed he beat the throw and it wasn’t really all that close). He has a tendency to get himself in some bad counts by chasing pitches outside of the zone, but he came up big when he lined a single to left in the 11th that had a chance to be the game winner. Unfortunately Cooper was not fast enough to score from second on the play, getting gunned down at the plate.
Josh Hader – Hader was working with a mid-90s fastball most of the night and seemed to pick up some extra velocity as he got going. His arm action is deceptive and he’s especially tough on lefties. He struck out the side in the fourth and finished with a total of seven punchouts without issuing a walk.