[Via email from the Montgomery Biscuits' broadcaster Jon Laaser.]
Two runs in the eighth inning sunk Montgomery in a see-saw affair, as the Mississippi Braves claimed a 5-4 win in game one of a five-game series at Trustmark Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Biscuits jumped on top against Braves' starter Kyle Cofield in the first inning. Cofield walked Brandon Chaves with one down and Fernando Cortez followed with a single to move Chaves to third base. Chris Nowak then put the Biscuits ahead, 1-0, with an RBI single back up the middle.
The lead for the Biscuits was short-lived as the Braves jumped on Montgomery starter Brian Baker in the bottom of the inning. Matt Young led off and reached on an error by first baseman Matt Fields. Baker struck out Brandon Hicks, but then Jason Heyward launched a two-run home run to right field, delivering the lead to Mississippi, 2-1. Heyward's home run came in his first at-bat against the Biscuits this season.
Cofield departed the game with the lead after five innings. He didn't factor in the decision, conceding a lone run on five hits, walking four and striking out two.
A strikeout sparked the Biscuits against reliever Jerome Gamble in the sixth inning. Gamble struck out Pedro Powell, but strike three was a wild pitch allowing Powell to reach. Gamble walked Chaves and Cortez to load the bases, and with two outs, Nowak launched a bases-clearing double off the wall in left-center field. Nowak's effort gave him four RBIs for the day and gave the Biscuits a 4-2 lead.
Baker came back to start the sixth for the Biscuits, but walked Freddie Freeman to start the inning. When Willie Cabrera followed with a single, Baker was lifted in favor of Neal Frontz. Frontz allowed one of the inherited runs to score, when Greg Creek lifted a sacrifice fly to centerfield. The run was charged to Baker, and Frontz escaped the inning with a 4-3 Biscuits' lead. Baker didn't factor in the decision.
Montgomery called on closer Paul Phillips in the eighth inning, and he walked Eric Campbell with one out. A batter later, Travis Jones connected on a game-tying double on one hop off the right field wall. Phillip Britton then cued a double past Fields at first base to plate Jones with the game-winning run. Phillips (2-2) took the loss and blew his first save of the season.
Brett Butts worked two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, and returned to start the ninth. He struck out Cody Cipriano to start the ninth, but then walked Fields and Jose Lobaton to put two aboard. Deunte Heath entered in relief to record the final two outs and secure the win for Mississippi. Butts (6-2) earned the win, while Heath received his first save of the season.
The two teams will make up Saturday's postponed game with a doubleheader scheduled for 6:05 PM on Monday night at Trustmark Park. RHP Heath Rollins (9-9, 3.81) will make the start for Montgomery in game one against LHP Jose Ortegano (1-0, 1.29) in game one. RHP Tim Gustafson (1-1, 4.39) will start game two for the Braves against a yet to be determined starter for the Biscuits.