28 Jun

starting fresh

The Mississippi Braves, no doubt happy to put the first half behind them, and Biloxi Shuckers face off tonight at MGM Park to begin the second half of the Southern League season. The M-Braves lost 17 of their last 23 games to finish 29-40, last in the four-team SL South. With Michael Harris II gone to Atlanta at the end of May, the Double-A M-Braves have struggled to produce runs, scoring just 62 in June so far. No other team in the league has scored fewer than 103 this month. The Shuckers, on the other hand, have been an offensive juggernaut in June, scoring 156 runs. They won seven of their last 10 to finish the first half at 34-33, second place in the division. Aiming to quell the Shuckers’ attack and start the second half on a high note, the M-Braves will start Atlanta No. 9 prospect Jared Shuster (4-7, 3.53 ERA) in Game 1 of the six-game series. Biloxi’s hottest hitter has been Cam Devanney (.291), who’ll take a 19-game hitting streak into tonight’s game. Ole Miss alum Thomas Dillard is batting .227 with five homers for the Shuckers. Andrew Moritz was named the M-Braves’ player of the week for last week after batting .416 with five RBIs in six games. He’s at .268 for the year. The M-Braves count on the power of Drew Lugbauer (15 homers) and C.J. Alexander (12) for much of their offense. … The Shuckers will honor Pearl River Community College’s national championship team in pregame ceremonies tonight. P.S. Ex-Southern Miss star Matt Wallner and DeSoto Central High product Blaze Jordan were named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week for June 20-26. Wallner, playing for Minnesota’s Double-A Wichita club, went 9-for-21 with three homers, six RBIs, seven runs and six walks; he has 16 bombs on the season. Jordan went 12-for-24 with two homers, five RBIs and five runs for Boston’s Low-Class A Salem team; he is hitting .311 with eight homers for the season. Other notable performances last week, per MLB Pipeline: Hattiesburg’s Joe Gray, Jr., had a two-homer game for High-A Wisconsin in Milwaukee’s system, boosting his total to nine. He’s batting .177, so a promotion to Biloxi isn’t likely anytime soon. … Mississippi State product Jordan Westburg had a five-hit game for Triple-A Norfolk in Baltimore’s system. He is batting .366 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 16 games for the Tides. … Former Itawamba Community College standout Tyreque Reed, having a rough year (.202) at Double-A Portland (Boston), broke up a no-hitter in the seventh inning against Richmond last Friday.

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