[Via email from the Montgomery Biscuits' broadcaster Jon Laaser.]
The Biscuits posted a five-run third inning en route to thumping the Mississippi Braves, 7-3, in front of 6,895 on Saturday night at Riverwalk Stadium. The win pulled the Biscuits even with the Braves in the five-game set.
A Chris Nowak double leading off the second inning against Braves' starter Jose Ortegano sparked the Biscuits to the lead. With one out and Nowak still at second, Matt Fields was walked by Ortegano. Cody Cipriano struck out, but Matt Spring walked to load the bases with two down. Pedro Powell then came through with a single back up the middle to plate Nowak with the game's first run and put the Biscuits in front, 1-0.
The flood-gates opened for Montgomery in the third as Brandon Chaves opened the inning with a solo-home run to left field off Ortegano. A batter later, Ortegano walked Chris Nowak. Cody Strait followed with a double, blistered into the alley in left-center field and the Nowak raced around to score. Strait stole third and Fields pulled an RBI single into left field to score him for a 4-0 lead. Cipriano then clubbed a two-run home run easily out to left-center field to cap the inning, with the Biscuits leading, 6-0.
Ortegano departed when Matt Spring followed Cipriano's blast with a single, unable to survive the third inning. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings to take the loss, allowing six earned runs on seven hits and three walks.
Mississippi attempted to chip away at Montgomery's lead through the middle innings. Biscuits' starter Aneury Rodriguez retired the first 10 batters he faced, but with one out in the fourth inning, Brandon Hicks singled. A batter later, Freddie Freeman also singled and Concepcion Rodriguez put the Braves on the board with an RBI double that scored Hicks.
Rodriguez surrendered two more before retiring in the fifth inning. He walked two batters to start the rally for Mississippi and then conceded a two-run double to Hicks to cut the Biscuits' lead to 6-3. Rodriguez was lifted after walking Jason Heyward, who followed Hicks to the plate. He didn't factor in the decision, allowing three earned runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Eddie Morlan (7-4) entered for Rodriguez in the fifth and finished the inning without further damage. Ultimately, he worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to claim his seventh win of the season. Matt Gorgen completed the ballgame for the Biscuits, tossing two scoreless innings to ensure the victory.
Montgomery capped the scoring when Strait singled home Eldridge off of Braves' reliever Jeff Lyman in the sixth inning.
The series finale is scheduled for 6:05 PM on Sunday night at Riverwalk Stadium. LHP Darin Downs (0-1, 3.86) will make the start for Montgomery against RHP Tim Gustafson (1-2, 4.50) for Mississippi.