PEARL, Miss. —
The Jacksonville Suns dropped their second straight contest to the Mississippi Braves on Monday, surrendering the go-ahead run in the 8th inning in a 4-3 loss at Trustmark Park.
The Suns had just rallied to tie the game at three in the top half of the eighth when Jaime Pedroza singled in Edward Salcedo with what proved to be the winning run in the bottom half.
The loss was the Suns’ second straight and dropped the team to a game a half back of Mississippi in the Southern league South division entering the series finale on Tuesday.
It was Jacksonville that jumped out to an early advantage in game four of the five-game set, plating its first run in the top of the third inning on Kyle Jensen’s RBI single off Braves starter Gus Schlosser. The Mississippi right-hander would finish with a no-decision, allowing two runs on six hits in six innings.
He briefly a chance to win, however, thanks to Kyle Russell, who blasted a two-run homer off Suns hurler Robert Morey in the bottom of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Russell’s homer was the only black mark on Morey’s final line, as the right-hander finished six solid innings allowing the two runs on just three hits. Morey also struck out six and walked a pair.
Schlosser couldn’t hold the lead for long. Mark Canha tied the game the very next half-inning with a solo round-tripper, his fourth of the season, that brought the Suns even at two. Mississippi continued the back-and-forth theme in the bottom of the seventh by re-taking the lead on Phil Gosselin’s run-scoring single off reliever Scott McGough.
Trailing 3-2, the Suns rallied in the eighth against Braves reliever Andrew Russell (2-0). Jensen singled to lead off the frame and advanced to second on Canha’s perfectly placed sacrifice bunt. Ryan Fisher then reached on an infield single, moving the tying run to third.
J.T. Realmuto then stepped into the box and hit a comebacker to Russell, who attempted to start a double play that would have ended the inning. Pedroza, however, bobbled the throw, allowing the tying run to score.
Pedroza would atone for his mistake in the bottom half of the eighth against Suns’ left-hander Grant Dayton (0-1). After a pair of runners reached with two outs, Pedroza lifted a Dayton offering onto the outfield grass to score Salcedo.
Mark Lamm retired the Suns in order in the top of the ninth for his fourth save, handing Jacksonville its second consecutive loss.
Jensen and Christian Yelich were the only Suns to tally multiple hits on Monday evening, with Jensen finishing 2-for-4with an RBI and Yelich ending his night 2-for-5.
The rubber match of the series is set for Tuesday evening, with the Braves assured of maintaining their South division lead following the game regardless of the result. The Suns can close the gap to a half game with a win, which would also secure a series victory for Jacksonville. Left-hander Adam Conley is the scheduled starter for the Suns, taking a 3-1 record and 4.62 ERA into the outing. The Braves will counter with right-hander Aaron Norcraft (1-2, 4.11). First pitch is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.
Suns fans can listen to Tuesday’s game on the Suns Baseball Network, 94.1 WSOS-FM or through jaxsuns.com, MiLB.com or the Suns iPhone or Android app, beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET with the UF and Shands Suns Pre-Game Show.