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Link Report for Thursday 9/17 - Southern League Championship Series, Game Two in Biloxi

Mass Haas

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Biloxi: RHP Adrian Houser at home vs. Chattanooga (Twins), 6:55 PM pre-game, 7:10 gametime; Game Two of a Best-of-Five Championship Series; Shuckers up 1-0


Free Live Audio Link


MiLB.TV - Eight of the ten Southern League teams telecast their home games, and Biloxi is among them! Unfortunately, Chattanooga is not.




Box Score / Game Log / Game Day Link




Biloxi Media Notes - Linked by mid-afternoon today at the Shuck Dynasty blog




Weather forecast:



Biloxi, MS

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Completely realize it's a very "first world" complaint -- let's face it, this isn't Syria -- but not having access to MiLB.TV to watch a Game Three or beyond live (or highlights) is a bummer.


There will be video snippets (hopefully celebration video) through Twitter / Vine and we may see some TV news station reports out of Chattanooga, but it won't be the same.


That being said, surely Chris Harris is up to the challenge of painting us all a wonderful picture from the Chattanooga radio booth starting Saturday (travel day is Friday).


And that'll be my last complaint on the topic...

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Final: Chattanooga 6, Biloxi 1


Kepler homers twice as Lookouts even Championship Series

Chattanooga took game two of SLCS on Thursday night at MGM Park, 6-1

Biloxi Shuckers



Adrian Houser dropped to 1-1 this postseason after the loss on Thursday night in game two of SLCS (M.K. Krebs)


BILOXI, MS - Southern League most valuable player Max Kepler belted two two-out homeruns and Jason Wheeler took a no-hitter into the sixth for the Chattanooga Lookouts, as they defeated the Biloxi Shuckers a 6-1 in front of a crowd of 3,173 at MGM Park. Biloxi's four-game winning streak to start the postseason came to a halt on Thursday night and evened the series at one game apiece in this best-of-five set, as series becomes a best-of-three heading into AT&T Field in Chattanooga, Tenn. starting on Saturday.


Kepler snapped out of a 3-for-19 slump to start the postseason in a big way on Thursday, smacking a solo homerun in the first to put Biloxi in a 1-0 hole before even taking a swing.


The Berlin, Germany native was at it again in the fifth with a grand slam to break the game open, placing the Shuckers in a five-run deficit. Biloxi starter Adrian Houser (1-1) started the inning with two quick outs from Heiker Meneses and Stuart Turner, but a single by Shannon Wikerson and back-to-back walks to Steve Wickens and Jorge Polanco set the stage for Kepler's slam.


Houser took the hill attempting to replicate his complete-game shutout performance over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in game two of the Division Series on Sept. 11 in which the Oklahoma native allowed three hits and struck out 10, but failed to make it out of the fifth for the second time in his last three starts dating back to his final regular season start on Sept. 5 against the Tennessee Smokies. In 4.2 innings on Thursday, the 22-year-old allowed five runs on three hits, three walks and five punchouts.


Biloxi's (1-1) offense was no-hit by Wheeler (1-0) through the first five innings, but broke through in the sixth with three consecutive singles by Nick Shaw (2x3, R), Yadiel Rivera (1x3, BB) and Orlando Arcia (1x4) to start the frame. Michael Reed (0x1, 3 BB) lined out to third for the first out and Garrett Cooper (0x3, RBI) grounded out to second, scoring Shaw to break up the shutout bid.


Chattanooga (1-1) brought the Shuckers' deficit back to five with another two-out run in the seventh when Travis Harrison singled up the middle against Drew Gagnon to plate Turner.


Both teams will take a breather on Friday and travel to Chattanooga for game three on Saturday. Southern League ERA champion RHP Tyler Wagner (1-0, 0.00) takes the bump for the Shuckers, while it has yet to be determined who will make the start for the Lookouts. First pitch is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., with coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. on 1240-AM WGCM, 1580-AM WPMO and the Biloxi Shuckers Radio Network. Fans can also listen to the game using the TuneIn Radio app or by going to www.biloxishuckers.com.


Biloxi Box Score


Biloxi Game Log

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Chattanooga's Kepler has a big night to even series with Shuckers

Patrick Magee, Biloxi Sun-Herald


BILOXI – Max Kepler backed up his Southern League MVP award with a two-homer performance, lifting the Chattanooga Lookouts to a 6-1 victory over the Biloxi Shuckers Thursday night.


The German had a solo homer, a grand slam and knocked in five runs as the Lookouts evened the Southern League Championship Series, 1-1, before a crowd of 3,173 at MGM Park.


“He's been doing it all year,” Chattanooga manager Doug Mientkiewicz said. “They've been pitching him so tough in the playoff series and over the last three weeks. To see the growth of him, see him turn into a man, it's pretty fun to watch.”


The big blow from Kepler came in the top of the fifth when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. The left-handed Kepler lifted the first pitch he saw well over the right field wall to push the Chattanooga lead to 5-0 and put the game out of reach for the Shuckers, who didn't have a hit until the sixth inning.



Kepler also added a nice diving catch in left field in the fourth for what was a well-rounded night at the ballpark for the native of Berlin.


“The catch he made in left field really settled down the game for us,” Mientkiewicz said.


Shuckers starting pitcher Adrian Houser lasted 4 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs on three hits to take the loss.


Houser walked three batters, including two costly walks in the the fifth inning to help load the bases for Hepler's grand slam.


“He was (a little off), but he only gave up three hits,” Biloxi manager Carlos Subero said. “Kepler hit a solo homer and a grand slam. Other than that, he was able to stay in there.”



Biloxi had a prime opportunity to cut into the 5-0 deficit in the bottom of the sixth with Nick Shaw, Yadiel Rivera and Orlando Arcia coming through with three straight singles to start the inning.


The first man up with the bases loaded, Michael Reed, lined out to third. Garrett Cooper grounded out to second to bring home Shaw and Tyrone Taylor grounded out to the end the inning with only one run across.


Shaw's single to lead off the sixth was the Shuckers' first hit of the game as Chattanooga's Jason Wheeler put in a quality outing on the mound.


“He nibbled enough around the zone at this level to where he was able to get away with it. I don't think he particularly had good command on it,” Subero said of Wheeler. “The inning where he got in trouble, he was able to execute pitches and come out with just one run.”


The left-handed Wheeler allowed one run on three hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three.


“He has the ability to elevate the fastball,” Mientkiewicz said. “He's a left-hander so he has a high angle. He doesn't really throw that hard, but he can spot it in and out or up and down. He's got an extra gear to the fastball. He elevated it and he was able to get it by some elite hitters.”


Biloxi shortstop Orlando Arcia's streak of three consecutive games with a home run came to an end Thursday. He finished 1-of-4 with a single.


“I think Jason just made better pitches to (Arcia),” Mientkiewicz said. “The kid is human. He'll make outs eventually. He's not the guy you want at the plate by any stretch of the imagination. You try to get him to chase the ball and put it in play somewhere else than over the fence.”



Shaw, who batted ninth, was the only Shucker with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a run scored.


Heiker Meneses, Shannon Wilkerson and Kepler each had two hits for the Lookouts.


Game three of the series is set for 6:15 PM Saturday in Chattanooga with right-hander Tyler Wagner scheduled to get the start for Biloxi.

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Kepler homers twice to even SL Finals

No. 6 Twins prospect helps Lookouts win Game 2 with slam, solo shot

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com


After an MVP season, Max Kepler was not producing his usual numbers in the playoffs. On Thursday, he returned to form.


"I've been struggling a little," the Twins' No. 6 prospect admitted. "I can tell that people are trying to pitch me differently or pitch around me, and I'm not going to lie -- it got to me. I really want to hit. I got into swinging at some stuff I shouldn't have. Today I was much more patient in my at-bats and tried to get back to that same mind-set and not be greedy in looking for my pitch."


Kepler cracked a grand slam and a solo shot while boosting Double-A Chattanooga to a 6-1 win at Biloxi. The Game 2 victory tied the best-of-5 Southern League Championship Series and sent the Lookouts home on a high note.


"We knew off the bat this was not going to be an easy series against this team, so it was good. It's always good to get a win, regardless of when in the series," Kepler said. "It's going to be a long bus ride. Hopefully everyone gets some Z's and is rested for [saturday]."


The 22-year-old outfielder delivered his first multiple-hit performance of six playoff games, raising his postseason average to .217. In the regular season, slashed .322/.416/.531 with 32 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers, 71 RBIs and 18 stolen bases over 112 games on the circuit.


With two outs in the first inning, Kepler put together a seven-pitch at-bat against Shuckers starter and 28th-ranked Brewers prospect Adrian Houser, culminating in a dinger over the right-field wall.


"I didn't know it was seven pitches, because it was a blur to me and it actually went by kind of fast. But with each pitch. you get more information -- how he's throwing the ball, if he's cutting it and sinking it. The ball got bigger for me with each pitch," he said, adding that the long ball gave the Lookouts some momentum after Wednesday's 7-1 loss.


"Hitting a home run, actually just taking the lead in the opposing team's stadium -- their fans were all hyped up -- it was good for our team," he said. "They had a great crowd today, very loud, and it was good to silence them for an inning or two and get our team in the race."


The German-born slugger popped out to Biloxi third baseman Yadiel Rivera in the third, but instigated another hush in the fifth. With two down, Houser gave up a single to Shannon Wilkerson followed by back-to-back walks to Stephen Wickens and Jorge Polanco.


"They had a mound visit. I was assuming they were telling him to throw strikes, because I think he tried to make [Polanco] chase something," Kepler said. "He threw me a changeup up and in. It's my first this year, and grand slams are always fun. It's a great feeling, touching home and having three guys waiting to greet you there."


He was intentionally walked in the seventh and popped out to shortstop Orlando Arcia in the ninth.


Jason Wheeler, Minnesota's No. 25 prospect, started the game with five no-hit innings for Chattanooga and ended up allowing a run on three hits and three walks while striking out five to earn the win.


"It was big," Kepler said. "He pitched a great game. He's one of the most confident people I know on this team. That's the great thing about him. He's not scared of anybody. He'll attack anybody with any pitch he has. It was just what we needed -- we needed to be aggressive on the mound and at the plate. It worked out, and it was a great game."


The Lookouts host Game 3 at 7:15 PM ET (6:15 Central) on Saturday.

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Max Kepler of the Lookouts kept the Biloxi Shuckers from getting under the win column Thursday


BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - 3,173 fans turned out for the final game at MGM Park and they watched a young man from the Lookouts launch two long balls to give Chattanooga momentum.


If anyone had any doubt that Lookouts left fielder Max Kepler wasn't worthy of being named the Southern League's Most Valuable Player...the Berlin, Germany native changed their minds. Facing Shuckers pitcher Adrian Houser, Kepler belted a solo home run in the top of the first inning and four innings later followed that up with a Grand Slam home run over the right field wall to propel Chattanooga to a 5-0 lead.


The Shuckers are no longer undefeated in postseason play, falling 6 to 1.


Shuckers infielder Nick Shaw said, "We were on a roll there for the first four games but as you know we can't win them all. Kepler had a heck of a game. He's a great player. He won the MVP for a reason. So, we have to bounce back in Chattanooga on Saturday."


Lookouts pitcher Jason Wheeler kept the Shuckers off-balance and had a no-hitter into the sixth inning.


"Whoever wins the next two out of three will be the champion of the league, "stated Shuckers manager Carlos Subero. He added, "We feel pretty good about our chances with our starters and the way we've been playing. So, hopefully we can go up there and go ahead and take game three."


The Biloxi Shuckers were hoping to close out their final game here at MGM Park with a big win our Chattanooga. It didn't happen. That means games 3, 4 and if needed, game 5 will be played in Chattanooga beginning Saturday at 6:15.


Southern League earned run average champion Tyler Wagner is slated to get the starting nod for the Shuckers. He's 1-0 in postseason play with a 0.00 ERA.

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With SLCS tied 1-1, Shuckers head to Chattanooga

Patrick Magee, Biloxi Sun-Herald


The Biloxi Shuckers will have to win the Southern League Championship where they're most familiar - on the road.


With the SLCS tied 1-1 following the Chattanooga Lookouts' 6-1 win Thursday in Biloxi, the final three games (if necessary) are slated for AT&T Park in Chattanooga. Game three is set for 6:15 PM Saturday.


The Shuckers started the season on a 54-game road trip while construction finished on MGM Park in Biloxi. The team was 33-21 during that stretch.


In games away from Biloxi this season, the Shuckers are 56-39, including a 3-1 series win at Chattanooga in late May.


The Shuckers hope all that experience away from home pays off at Chattanooga this weekend.


Biloxi is in good shape on the mound today with right-hander Tyler Wagner getting the start.


Wagner was 11-5 with a 2.25 ERA in 25 starts in the regular season. He struck out 120 and walked 45.


Wagner threw game three in the Southern League South playoffs, throwing six scoreless in a 7-5 win at Pensacola. He gave up three hits, struck out six and walked four.


Biloxi manager Carlos Subero believes his team is in a good position with Wagner getting the start.


"It's definitely going to be good competition," Subero said. "That's what it's all about. We've got to be able to bounce back, go to Chattanooga and take two out of three. Whoever wins two out of the next three will be league champion. We feel pretty good about our chances with Wagner on the ground in game three."


The Shuckers started the postseason with three consecutive victories thanks to some hot hitting by Orlando Arcia and outstanding starting pitching.


On Thursday, Arcia went just 1-for-4 with a single and starting pitcher Adrian Houser struggled a little with his control in a losing effort. Houser gave up five runs on three hits, walking three in 4 2/3 innings.


Lefty Josh Hader (1-4, 2.79) is expected to start game four for Biloxi at 1:15 Sunday and right-hander Jorge Ortega could make his first start with the Shuckers in game five at 6:15 PM on Monday, if necessary.


"We now what we're up against with these guys," Chattanooga manager Doug Mientkiewicz said of the Biloxi pitching staff. "One through 13, every one has a major league caliber arm. We just have to capitalize when we have opportunities and take advantage."

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