Jacksonville Sports Day

RECAP: Jumbo Shrimp Hold Off Tennessee, Win Fifth Straight

FILE: John Silviano Photo by Michael Krebs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – John Silviano homered and Corey Bird tripled in a pair on Sunday as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp outlasted the Tennessee Smokies 4-3 in front of 5,850 fans from the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Magneuris Sierra, who went 4-for-4, led off the first inning with a single against Tennessee (10-12) starter Cory Abbott (2-1). After a pair of ground outs, J.C. Millan doubled in a run to make it 1-0 Jacksonville (10-14).

Silviano blasted a solo home run to lead off the fifth. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Cody Poteet singled before Sierra added an infield single. Bird then tripled in the pair to widen the margin to 4-0.

Tennessee finally broke through in the seventh. Jesse Hodges knocked a pinch-hit double to begin the frame. Roberto Caro singled him to third and Christian Donahue recorded an RBI base hit to make it 4-1.

In the ninth, Robel Garcia hit a two-run home run, but Brett Graves worked 2.2 innings for his first save.

Jorge Guzman (1-2) earned his first win since September 2, 2017 with five scoreless innings of work. He scattered five hits and three walks and struck out two.

Jacksonville bids for a sweep of Tennessee in Monday’s 12:05 p.m. contest. RHP Jordan Yamamoto (1-2, 4.50 ERA) makes the start for the Jumbo Shrimp against Smokies RHP Zach Hedges (0-0, 3.38 ERA).

SPRING CLEANING: Jacksonville’s first five-game winning streak of the season has been spurred by a hot offense. The Jumbo Shrimp have put up 31 runs in the last five games (6.2 per game) after having scored just 43 in the campaign’s first 20 contests (2.2 per game). In total, Jacksonville has seen 17 multi-hit efforts in the last five games. Meanwhile, the Shrimp staff has surrendered just 15 runs (3.0 per game) over this span. If the Jumbo Shrimp can win Monday’s series finale against Tennessee, it would be the club’s first sweep of at least five games since brooming Birmingham over six games from August 21-25 of the 2017 season. No Jacksonville team has swept the Smokies in recorded club history (through the 2005 season).

NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE: Jacksonville infielder Joe Dunand came into play on April 20 hitting .180/.255/.240 with only three doubles, four RBIs and three walks. However, in the eight games since then, the Miami native is 10-for-28, posting a batting line of .357/.438/.500 with a double, home run, nine RBIs and four walks. A product of NC State, Dunand pulled the ball 37.4 percent of the time in 66 games with High-A Jupiter and 46.3 percent of the time in 61 contests with Jacksonville in 2018. This season, he has raised his pull percentage to 52.9 percent, the 13th-highest such mark in the Southern League. Dunand’s ground ball rate has increased from 35.8 percent (High-A) and 32.4 percent (Double-A) to 39.3 percent this season.

AND SO IT BEGINS: In the first 20 games of the season, Jacksonville starting pitchers compiled a 2-13 record and 5.33 ERA over 81.0 innings. Jumbo Shrimp lid-lifters combined for 41 walks (4.7 BB/9), 78 strikeouts (8.7 K/9) and 84 hits allowed (9.3 H/9). However, the club’s five-game winning streak has seen stellar starting pitching. Over these last five games, Jacksonville starters have combined for a 5-0 record and 1.50 ERA (5 ER in 30.0 IP). The quartet of starters have walked 12 (3.6 BB), fanned 23 (6.9 K/9) and yielded 22 hits (6.6 H/9).

IT’S MILLER’S TIME: In five games from April 12 through April 17, Jacksonville outfielder Brian Miller went just 2-for-18 (.111), dropping his season batting line to .178/.213/.267. However, in the 10 games since, including a five-hit barrage on April 20, Miller is 14-for-40 (.350/.450/.550) with three doubles, one triple, one home run and six RBIs. After posting batted ball rates to center field of 24.6 percent (2017, Low-A), 26.5 percent (2018, High-A) and 23.7 percent (2018, Double-A), Miller is using the middle of the field 37.3 percent this year.

TICKLE THE TWINE: Infielder Justin Twine has been a consistent force on offense for Jacksonville. The Falls City, Texas native has reached base in 17 of the last 20 games, batting 23-for-76 with a double, two triples, home run, eight RBIs, four walks and two hit-by-pitches to post a .303/.361/.408 batting line during this run. After recording 37.4 and 44.9 percent pull rates with Jacksonville and High-A Jupiter, respectively, in 2018, Twine is pulling the ball at a 49.1 percent rate this season. That figure is the 18th-highest such mark in the Southern League.

ARMS RACE: Jumbo Shrimp catchers Rodrigo Vigil, Santiago Chavez and B.J Lopez (currently reassigned to High-A Jupiter) have teamed to form a dynamic defensive backstop trio this season for Jacksonville. Chavez’s eight men caught stealing is second in Double-A, and as a team, the Jumbo Shrimp have gunned down 16 potential base stealers, ranking sixth out of 120 teams in Minor League Baseball. Jacksonville’s 42.1 percent caught stealing rate ranks eighth in the Double-A level.

(Thanks to the Jumbo Shrimp Media Department and Scott Kornberg and Roger Hoover for supplying recap, game note.)

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