By Steve Kolbe
The Mobile BayBears once again used a strong pitching performance to shutout the Jacksonville Suns 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon, and extend their lead in the South Division to four games.
The Suns have been outscored 21-2 in the series by the BayBears, and Jacksonville has been shutout twice in the last four games including 11-0 in the series opener. Mobile hurlers have limited Jacksonville batters to just 18 hits in the four games, with only three of the hits for extra bases with three doubles. The Suns are 1-for-20 with runners in scoring position during their losing streak. The BayBears have 33 total hits in the four games, and are 11-for-30 with runners in scoring position.
The afternoon featured a pitching rematch from and an April 23rd game where Graham Taylor and Chase Anderson combined to allow just five hits and no runs in a game the Suns won 7-0. Again, the starters stole the spotlight on Wednesday. Chase Anderson allowed just four hits in his six innings of work for the BayBears, and Graham Taylor allowed just one single until the seventh inning.
In the seventh, Marc Krauss led off the inning with a single and then Taylor made his only mistake of the day. Alfredo Marte swung at the first pitch he saw in the seventh and smashed a two-run home run into the right field stands to give Mobile a 2-0 lead. It was Marte’s eighth round tripper of the season. His eight home runs and 25 runs batted in are tied for the most in the Southern League.
The BayBears have won four straight games for the first time since their first four games of the season. The Suns have lost four in a row to tie their season high. The last time Jacksonville dropped four straight was also at the Baseball Grounds April 10-13 against Chattanooga.
The Suns have been shutout three times this season, all at home. The BayBears pitching staff has now tossed four shutouts on the year, two against Jacksonville and two against Mississippi. Jacksonville has lost six of the last seven games to fall to 17-17 on the season. The Suns have been outscored 41-18 in the seven games. The BayBears improved to 21-13 and now have the most wins in the league.
Chase Anderson improved his record to 2-0, with both of his wins coming on the road. Over 13 innings in his two starts against the Suns this season, Anderson has allowed just seven hits and no runs while striking out 17. Evan Marshall pitched the ninth to earn his second save of the series and sixth of the season. Graham Taylor pitched six and two-thirds innings and allowed just three hits but falls to 2-3 on the year. He struck out five and walked only one batter.
The Suns will look to salvage the final game of the series on Thursday night at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. RHP Omar Poveda (3-1, 6.08) will make his sixth start of the season with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35PM. Poveda allowed 10 hits and seven runs in his last start at Birmingham but earned the win when the Suns exploded for 11 runs. RHP Brett Lorin (0-2, 3.26) is set to make his third start of the season for the BayBears.