Jacksonville Sports Day

SUNS: Third Straight Win Over Shuckers, 3-1

Jacksonville Suns All-Star right-hander Jake Esch struck out seven batters in six innings for his team-high seventh win, and right-handers Ryan Chaffee and Drew Steckenrider combined for scoreless relief in a 3-1 win over the Biloxi Shuckers in front of 4,427 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville Thursday night.

Esch (7-5) pitched six innings for the eighth time and improved to 5-1 at home this season. He opened the game with his only walk, putting Shuckers left fielder Johnny Davis at first base. Third baseman Nathan Orf grounded out to move Davis to second base, and when first baseman Garrett Cooper hit a two-out single to right field, Davis tried to score, but All-Star right fielder Moises Sierra threw to catcher Francisco Arcia for the final out of the inning to keep a scoreless tie.

In the bottom of the first inning against Shuckers right-hander Adrian Houser (3-6), Jacksonville (29-38) began with consecutive singles by All-Star center fielder Yefri Perez and shortstop J.T. Riddle to put runners at first and third bases.

All-Star left fielder Austin Dean lined into a double play that retired Riddle, but Sierra walked, before third baseman Brian Anderson lined an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third inning, Dean hit a two-out single to center field and advanced to third base on consecutive wild pitches by Houser, before Sierra hit an RBI single to center field to make it 2-0. Against the Suns, Houser allowed two earned runs on six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

Esch kept Biloxi (37-29) off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, when Orf hit a leadoff double to left field, went to third base on Phillips’ sacrifice fly and scored ahead of Anderson’s throw to home plate on Cooper’s RBI infield single.

After Chaffee pitched a scoreless top of the seventh inning to keep it 2-1, Jacksonville added its final run against left-hander Stephen Peterson in the bottom of the inning. Pinch hitter Jeremias Pineda drew a two-out walk, stole second base before Perez walked, and scored on Riddle’s RBI single to left field. With a 3-1 lead, Steckenrider allowed a leadoff single in the eighth inning before setting down the next six batters to earn his second save and the Suns’ third straight win.

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