Jacksonville Sports Day

RECAP: Jacksonville Rolls by Tennessee for Third Straight Win

File Photo by Michael Krebs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bryson Brigman lashed three hits and reached base four times and McKenzie Mills fired six strong innings Friday to lead the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to a 6-3 win in front of 6,612 fans from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Tennessee (10-10) led 1-0 when Brian Miller led off the bottom of the first with a base hit. After a walk by Stone Garrett, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Joe Dunand registered an RBI ground out before Brigman’s RBI single gave Jacksonville (8-14) a 2-1 lead.

Santiago Chavez jumpstarted the second with a single. Mills bunted him to second before a Miller base knock put runners on the corners. After Smokies starter Justin Steele (0-1) walked Garrett to load the bases, reliever Brad Markey issued a free pass to Justin Twine to bring in a run.

Dunand then lifted a sacrifice fly and Brigman brought in another tally with an RBI single to make it 5-1.

A Twine RBI base knock in the sixth widened the margin to 6-1. P.J. Higgins launched a two-run home run in the ninth to get Tennessee within 6-3.

Robel Garcia hit an RBI double in the first inning for the game’s first run, giving the Smokies an early 1-0 advantage.

Mills (1-3) struck out eight against just one walk in his six frames, ceding just one run on five hits. Tyler Stevens twirled two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

Jacksonville hosts Tennessee at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. RHP Robert Dugger (0-4, 6.60 ERA) makes the start for the Jumbo Shrimp against Smokies RHP Thomas Hatch (0-2, 5.89 ERA).

LAST TIME OUT: Jacksonville starter Cody Poteet fired seven shutout innings on Thursday to lead the Jumbo Shrimp to a 4-0 blanking of the Tennessee Smokies. Poteet scattered four hits and a pair of walks and struck out three in his seven scoreless frames. Jacksonville opened up the scoring in the fourth inning when Rodrigo Vigil blooped a two-run base hit to right field. The score remained 2-0 until the eighth. Corey Bird singled and came into score on J.C. Millan’s RBI double. A Tennessee error brought in Millan to make it 4-0. Jeff Kinley and Jordan Milbrath each twirled a scoreless inning of relief to seal the 4-0 victory. Bird, Millan, Vigil and Joe Dunand each notched two hits in the win.

SO MANY HUGS, SO MUCH LOVE: Jacksonville’s first three-game winning streak of the season has been spurred by a suddenly-hot offense. The Jumbo Shrimp have put up 21 runs in the last three games after having scored just 43 in the campaign’s first 20 contests. Jacksonville erupted for 11 tallies on Wednesday at Biloxi, their most runs in a game in almost exactly a year, when they plated 11 on April 22, 2018 in an 11-5 triumph at Tennessee. The club followed that up Thursday with an 11-hit barrage against Tennessee. The Jumbo Shrimp then matched their season-high in hits (13) in Friday’s contest against the Smokies, which had previously been set at the beginning of this three-game stretch. Jacksonville has seen 14 multi-hit efforts in the last two games.

STARTING TO FIGURE IT OUT?: In the first 20 games of the season, Jacksonville starting pitchers compiled a 2-13 record and 5.33 ERA over 81.0 innings. Jumbo Shrimp lid-lifters combined for 41 walks (4.7 BB/9), 78 strikeouts (8.7 K/9) and 84 hits allowed (9.3 H/9). However, the club’s three-game winning streak has seen stellar starting pitching. Over these last three games, Jordan Yamamoto, Cody Poteet and Jordan Mills have combined for a 3-0 record and 2.50 ERA. The trio of starters have walked seven (3.5 BB), fanned 14 (7.0 K/9) and yielded 15 hits (7.5 H/9). Poteet hurled seven scoreless innings on Thursday against Tennessee, becoming the first Jumbo Shrimp starter this year to complete seven innings. Mills ceded just one run on five hits in six innings on Friday.

IT’S MILLER’S TIME: In five games from April 12 through April 17, Jacksonville outfielder Brian Miller went just 2-for-18 (.111), dropping his season batting line to .178/.213/.267. However, in the eight games since, including a five-hit barrage on April 20, Miller is 12-for-33 (.364/.417/.576) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and five RBIs. After posting batted ball rates to center field of 24.6 percent (2017, Low-A), 26.5 percent (2018, High-A) and 23.7 percent (2018, Double-A), Miller is using the middle of the field 36.5 percent this year.

JUST IN TWINE Infielder Justin Twine has been a consistent force on offense for Jacksonville. The Falls City, Texas native has reached base in 16 of the last 18 games, batting 22-for-69 with a double, two triples, home run, eight RBIs, four walks and two hit-by-pitches to post a .319/.382/.435 batting line during this run. After recording 37.4 and 44.9 percent pull rates with Jacksonville and High-A Jupiter, respectively, in 2018, Twine is pulling the ball at a 51.8 percent rate this season. That figure is the 14th-highest such mark in the Southern League.

ARMS RACE: Jumbo Shrimp catchers Rodrigo Vigil, Santiago Chavez and B.J Lopez (currently back with High-A Jupiter) have teamed to form a dynamic defensive backstop trio this season for Jacksonville. Chavez’s eight men caught stealing is tied for the Double-A lead, and as a team, the Jumbo Shrimp have gunned down 16 potential base stealers, trailing only the Down East Wood Ducks’ (High-A, Texas Rangers) 18 for the MiLB lead. The Shrimp’s 44.4 percent caught stealing rate ranks seventh in Double-A.

SHRIMP SCOPES: The Shrimp have served up 23 home runs this season, vaulting the club into a tie for 27th in Double-A… The club loves the performance of late from Corey Bird, who has unlocked a strong streak over his last 12 games started. In this run, Bird is 13-for-37 (.351) with a double and RBI, collecting four walks and four stolen bases. Bird owns an on-base percentage of .415 over the last 12 games. He has registered six steals on the year (T-4th in the SL)… Needing one more victory for a series win against the Smokies, Robert Dugger starts Saturday for Jacksonville.

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