Down to their final out in the top of the ninth inning, it was Austin Barnes who delivered a go-ahead two-run homer to lift the Jacksonville Suns (1-0) to a 5-4 win over the Mobile BayBears (0-1) in game one of the South Division Championship Series on Thursday from Hank Aaron Stadium.
Jose Urena did not factor into the decision, surrendering four runs (all earned) on seven hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in six innings of work.
Reid Redman struck out a pair of batters in one hitless inning of relief.
Blake Logan (W, 1-0) collected the win in game one after working a 1-2-3 eighth inning in relief.
Matt Ramsey (SV, 1) earned the save by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, striking out one batter in the process.
Kaleb Fleck (BS, 1; L, 0-1) blew the save and took the loss for Mobile after giving up a pair of unearned runs on two hits with one strikeout in his one inning of relief.
The BayBears hopped on the scoreboard first, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. A Tom Belza RBI single and a two-out solo home run from Dustin Martin (HR, 1) put Mobile ahead by a 2-0 score after one inning of play.
Mobile added to its advantage with two more runs in the bottom of the second inning. Mark Thomas drove in Argenis Diaz with a sacrifice fly and Nate Samson contributed a RBI single to make it a 4-0 BayBears lead with two innings in the books.
The Suns cut into Mobile’s lead with a run in the top of the third inning, using a two-out RBI double from Austin Barnes to make it a 4-1 BayBears edge after two and a half innings.
Jacksonville continued to chip away in the top of the fourth, with Isaac Galloway’s two-out RBI single cutting Mobile’s lead to 4-2 with three and a half innings complete.
The Suns made it a one-run ballgame by scoring a lone run in the top of the fifth inning. Austin Nola came down to score on J.T. Realmuto’s RBI fielder’s choice, making it a 4-3 BayBears lead after four and a half innings of play.
The Suns were down to their final out in the top of the ninth before taking the lead on one mighty swing from Austin Barnes (HR, 1). Barnes blasted an offering from Kaleb Fleck over the wall in left for a two-run homer to give Jacksonville a 5-4 lead after eight and a half innings of play.
The Suns and BayBears will be back at it on Friday for game two of the South Division Championship Series, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. CT from Hank Aaron Stadium. The Suns are due to send out right-hander Jon Link (1-0, 2.25) while the BayBears will counter with a righty of their own in Braden Shipley (1-2, 3.60).