The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (28-26) have found their road mojo and return to the Baseball Grounds with the South Division lead. The Shrimp won the first two games over the Mobile BayBears (28-27) and won the fourth to take the series at Hank Aaron Stadium, three games to two. The gritty Shrimp have been victorious in two of the last three road trips. Now back on the First Coast, Jacksonville has won six home series in a row – dropping its last one at the friendly confines to Montgomery the second week of June. The Jumbo Shrimp open a six-game homestand, the second to last one of the regular season, Monday with the Birmingham Barons (24-30). The Shrimp hold a half-game lead on both Mobile and Biloxi.
- Pitching seven innings, with his final six frames scoreless, starter Chris Mazza (3-7) earned the victory in the series opener. He allowed just two runs off five hits. Left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth, on the same day he returned from the Triple-A disabled list, worked the final two innings for his third save of the season. The Jumbo Shrimp would plate the lone run not scored in the first inning with a second-inning John Norwood sacrifice fly that scored Braxton Lee and provided the road side with a 3-2 victory.
- For a second straight night, the Jumbo Shrimp played well when the game was tight as it was tied 2-2 after nine innings. The contest was knotted at two following a David Vidal solo home run to left field that began the eighth. To open the 10th inning, Braxton Lee hit an RBI single for a 3-2 lead. Then John Norwood’s RBI double made it a two-run advantage. Taylor Ard provided the final score with a two-run double to make it 6-2 and complete a four-run extra-inning frame. … Jacksonville starter Matt Tomshaw (11-6) took the no decision with a stat line of two runs allowed, four hits and two walks. He has pitched at least six innings in eight of his last 10 starts.
- In the series third game, Jax starter Trevor Richards (4-5) had his roughest Double-A outing of just two-thirds of an inning. He was rocked for five hits, five runs and two walks while getting the two outs via strikeouts. The Jumbo Shrimp lost 10-4. That was the most runs allowed in its last 13 games. … Jacksonville bounced back with a masterful mound appearance from Game Four starter Dillon Peters (5-2), who earned his third straight win. Working six scoreless innings, he finished the night giving up two hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Again a John Norwood base knock – a two-out RBI single – gave Jacksonville the 1-0 in the third. Four innings later, Norwood crushed a sky-high two-run park-departer to put the game out of the BayBears reach, 3-0. Jax would lock up the series with the 5-2 win. … The Jumbo Shrimp were unable to recover from a 9-1 deficit in Sunday’s finale before a David Vidal two-run homer gave it a final of 9-3.
- Homestand highlights for this week’s series at the Baseball Grounds … Thursday’s Jumbo Shrimp game will coincide with the Jaguars third preseason game, which will be at EverBank Field with its kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. … Friday’s game will have Sgt. Scampi as the bat dog – one of the last times you will be able to see the star dog. … Birmingham should an easier test before the final two series against South foes that have either locked in a playoff spot (Pensacola) or are vying for one (Biloxi).
- The Jumbo Shrimp are 17-7 at home … The Barons series is six games because of a postponed game August 8 in the last series two weeks ago. Tuesday will be a doubleheader of 7-inning games. In the earlier Aug. series, Jax won three of the four over the Barons and outscored them 23-12 … Birmingham has been dwelling at the bottom of the North Division lately. They are two games from being eliminated from playoff contention … Jacksonville should not overlook the Barons, who won the first three in their last series against Montgomery (32-23) and four of five. The Montgomery Biscuits have been entrenched in second place of the North Division the past few weeks.