Luis Aviles Jr. was with Double-A Biloxi last season when the Shuckers fell in four games to Jackson in the Southern League Championship Series. With an extra year’s worth of experience under his belt, he’s taking charge in avenging that defeat.
The Brewers prospect went 5-for-5 with a homer and four runs scored as Biloxi opened the best-of-5 Finals with a 9-7 triumph over Jackson on Tuesday at MGM Park. It was his first career five-hit game.
The teams exchanged a pair of runs over the first two innings, but Biloxi really got things going in the third. Max McDowell drew a leadoff walk and Aviles and C.J. Hinojosa singled to load the bases. Weston Wilson walked on four pitches to force in a run and Jake Gatewood followed three pitches later with a base hit that scored Aviles and Hinojosa. Bruce Caldwell capped the frame with a single to right that plated Wilson from second.
Three errors by Biloxi helped the Generals tie it in the fourth. Jackson logged only two hits but scored four runs, thanks to two errant throws and a fielding miscue along with a walk and a fielder’s choice. Seth Beer, MLB.com’s No. 96 overall prospect, was at the center of the rally, reaching on a throwing error by pitcher Alec Bettinger and scoring on an error by Wilson at first.
The Shuckers wasted little time regaining the lead. With two outs in the fourth, Aviles singled, took second on a wild pitch by right-hander Jayson McKinley and scored on a double by Cooper Hummel. Hinojosa, the hero in Game 5 of Biloxi’s semifinal series against Pensacola, followed with another double.
Biloxi pushed across another run in the fifth on a single by Joantgel Segovia, and Aviles homered off the billboard in left field in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
The 24-year-old singled with one out in the eighth for his fifth hit of the night.
Five Shuckers logged multiple hits, including Hinojosa and Gatewood, who both went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Game 2 is Wednesday night in Biloxi.
Jordan Wolf is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @byjordanwolf.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.