Jacksonville Sports Day

Barons Top Shrimp 6-2, Jacksonville Drops Road Opener

Photo by Mike Krebs

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.  – The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (61-64, 32-23) fell to the Birmingham Barons (56-66, 29-24) by a 6-2 score in the first game of the five-game series at Regions Field on Sunday night.

Birmingham right-handed starting pitcher Lincoln Henzman (4-6) earned the win, working six and a third innngs where he allowed two runs (both earned) on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts. Jacksonville right-handed pitcher Kolton Mahoney (4-3) took the loss, working six innings where he allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth. Birmingham started the scoring with a Gavin Sheets RBI triple to lead 1-0. Damek Tomscha added an RBI single to make it 2-0, before the final runs of the inning came in on a two-RBI single by Nate Nolan to grow the Barons lead to 4-0.

After being blanked for the first six innings, Jacksonville got on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. After Joe Dunand led off the inning with a double, Brian Miller quickly brought him home with an RBI triple to make it a 4-1 game.

Bryson Brigman followed with an RBI single to cut Birmingham’s lead to 4-2. The Barons got the two runs back in the bottom of the seventh inning, with Luis Gonzalez hitting a two run home run off Jacksonville right-handed relief pitcher Chad Smith to grow the Barons lead to 6-2, which would be the final.

The Jumbo Shrimp and Barons will continue their series with the second game of the five-game set at Regions Field on Monday night at 8:05 p.m. eastern.

Right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman (6-10, 3.62 ERA) will start for Jacksonville against Birmingham right-handed pitcher Bernardo Flores (3-6, 3.13 ERA).

SOUTHERN LEAGUE WEEKLY AWARDS – The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs announced that Montgomery infielder Tristan Gray has been named the league’s Player of the Week, and Biscuits RHP Paul Campbell has been named the league’s Pitcher of the Week. Both awards recognize these players’ performances for games played during the week of 12-18 Aug.

This marks the second time this season that a pair of Montgomery Biscuits have swept the Southern League’s weekly awards, the first being infielder Kevin Padlo and RHP Sam McWilliams on June 3-9. Thanks in part to performances from Gray and Campbell, the Biscuits went 5-1 this past week and now hold an 81-45 record this season; the third best mark in Minor League Baseball.

Gray, 23, reached base safely in all five appearances for Montgomery this week and led all qualified hitters in both slugging percentage (1.063) and OPS (1.587). The Houston, Texas native also ranked among the league leaders in several offensive categories including runs scored (7, T-1st), total bases (17, 2nd), runs batted in (7, T-1st), and on-base percentage (.524, T-2nd).

Across 14 games this past month the Rice University product is hitting .347 (17-for-49) with 14 runs scored, seven home runs, and 16 runs driven in. With less than three series remaining in the 2019 regular season, Gray ranks among the league leaders in home runs (16, T-6th), RBIs (59, T-6th), and bases on balls (54, T-4th). The Tampa Bay Rays acquired Gray on February 22, 2018 as part of the trade that sent Corey Dickerson to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Campbell, 24, earns Pitcher of the Week honors after recording a pair of strong outings for Montgomery; combining to go 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA (2 ER/11.0 IP) while registering 10 strikeouts. On August 13, Campbell corralled division rival Jackson across five innings to secure a Biscuits victory before blanking the South Division leading Biloxi Shuckers across six shutout frames last night.

Following a midseason promotion to Montgomery earlier this year, the Malden, Massachusetts native has gone 8-4 with a 2.96 ERA (25 ER/76.0 IP). The Tampa Bay Rays selected Campbell in the 21st round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft out of Clemson University.

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