The Jumbo Shrimp (19-21) avoided the five-game sweep at the Biloxi Shuckers with a 3-0 win at MGM Park on Thursday night. Biloxi (18-22) had won five straight games going into the series finale. It is just the second time following a second-half set that Jacksonville has dropped out of first place in the South Division. Thursday’s win was guided by starter Chris Mazza going a career-high eight and a third scoreless innings, scattering two hits and walking three. Mazza (2-7) earned his first win since May 22 and snapped the Jumbo Shrimp’s five-game losing streak. Jacksonville got on the board in the sixth inning Thursday and never looked back. The two runs in the sixth snapped the Shrimp’s 22-inning scoreless streak.
The South Division, the home to the Shrimp, is a much tighter race than the North. In the South, four of the five teams are either leading or within three games of first place. The Jumbo Shrimp are two games back of the Mobile BayBears (21-19). Jax welcomes the 17-23 Birmingham Barons to the Baseball Grounds from Friday to Tuesday.
- A pair of Jumbo Shrimp swept the Southern League weekly awards following the road series win at the Mississippi Braves. Third baseman David Vidal, for the second time this year, was named SL Player of the Week for July 24-30. In the team’s first road series victory, he went 8 for 19 with three home runs and five runs batted in against the Braves. Right-handed pitcher Joe Gunkel earned the league’s Pitcher of the Week honor after a seven-inning start on July 28. He allowed two unearned runs off four hits in the 4-3 win. Gunkel’s last two starts in July he had not allowed an earned run in 13 innings of work. With the pair’s awards, the Jumbo Shrimp now have won six this season.
- The Jumbo Shrimp dropped the first four games to the Shuckers with two coming by one-run differences. Jacksonville was blanked in the fourth game 13-0, their worst beating of 2017. The previous worst had been six-run losses with one being a 9-3 final. In the 13-0 game, the Shuckers recorded 20 hits, a season-high given up by Jacksonville pitchers, and every position player had a base knock. On the season the Shrimp are 15-14 in one-run games, but 12-7 more recently in June and July.
- Jax outfielder Braxton Lee went 3 for 5 in the first game with two RBI. Lee finished the series with seven hits and three runs … Fellow OF Austin Dean racked up six hits in Biloxi and had a two-RBI game Monday … The team hit into three double plays wiping out scoring opportunities in the 3-2 loss Monday … Dillon Peters tied his season-high 7 Ks in game three, which he also accomplished in his first start this season … A power surge in downtown Biloxi the same night, caused a 24-minute delay in getting the lights back on at MGM Park … For game four, shortstop KC Serna pitched the final inning where he retired three batters in a row.
- From August 4 to 11 the Jumbo Shrimp will be at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for two home series. The home promotional slate is outstanding with something for everyone over the next two weeks. We could list all of it or you can head to the Shrimp site, bookmark it and tell your family which nights you would like to attend.
- Jacksonville has potential wins set up on a silver platter, after a tough road series in Biloxi. The Birmingham Barons (17-23) are at the bottom of the North Division, but they have performed better on the road than at home as of late. It will be the first time the Shrimp and Barons face off since the first month of the season. Jax fell in that series three games to two with the last two being losses (3-2, 5-4). The Shrimp need to take advantage of the Barons matchup like Jacksonville did two series ago at the Mississippi Braves (12-28). Jax won two of those three games by one run.