Long ball propels M-Braves to second straight win
PEARL, Miss. - The Mississippi Braves hit two more home runs on Sunday to win a rain-shortened contest over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, 6-2, in seven innings. The M-Braves finished the opening series, 2-4, winning the final two games thanks to four home runs and an 11-3 margin. Of Mississippi’s 16 runs this season, 12 have come via the long ball.
Rain paused play as the M-Braves (2-4) were coming to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a 30 minute delay, the game was deemed official, and Mississippi celebrated Mother’s Day with their second straight game over Pensacola (4-2).
CJ Alexander started the scoring for the M-Braves in the bottom of the first inning with a three-run home run off the batter’s eye in centerfield. The 415-foot blast was the third baseman’s first on the season.
Jurrar Encarnacion belted a solo homer on the first pitch from Matt Withrow in the top of the second inning and immediately trimmed the lead to 3-1.
The 27-year-old Withrow was making his first start for the M-Braves on May 21, 2017. The Texas Tech product was making his second appearance of the season after relieving for 2.0 scoreless innings on opening night. Withrow worked 4.0 innings of one-run, two-hit baseball with a strikeout and two walks.
In his second start of the season, Jacob Pearson added to Mississippi’s lead with a two-out-two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The long ball to right was the West Monroe native’s first as a member of the Atlanta Braves organization after being a Rule 5 selection last December.
Kurt Hoekstra (W, 1-0) took over after Withrow and worked 2.0 scoreless innings in his second outing to earn the win. Pensacola did push across one more run in the top of the seventh inning, making the final 6-2.
The M-Braves matched a season-high with nine hits on Sunday, led by Wendell Rijo’s 3-for-3 day at the plate, with two doubles. Drew Lugbauer registered his first multi-hit game of the year and was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Justin Dean reached base safely all four times, being hit by a pitch twice, walking, and singling in the first inning.
The M-Braves will enjoy a day off on Monday before beginning their first road trip of 2021 on Tuesday in Biloxi. The six-game series stretches from May 11-16 at MGM Park. LHP Hayden Deal will get his second start of 2021 on Tuesday against a to-be-determined starter for Biloxi. The first pitch from MGM Park is set for 6:35 pm CT with coverage on 103.9 FM and MILB.tv.
The Braves will return to Trustmark Park for 12 games in 13 days, May 18-30, against the Chattanooga Lookouts and Montgomery Biscuits. The homestand will feature the return of Bark in the Park, two Post-Game Fireworks Shows, and two great giveaways. On Friday, May 21, the first 1,000 fans receive a Dansby Swanson replica jersey, courtesy of the Mississippi Forestry Commission. On Friday, May 28, the Braves will wear throwback Jackson Generals jerseys, and the first 1,000 fans will get a replica Generals cap.
Copyright 2021 WLBT. All rights reserved.