With Double-A Jacksonville trailing Mobile by one run and down to its final out Thursday in Game 1 of their Southern League semifinals series, second baseman Austin Barnes, the Marlins' No. 16 prospect, stepped up to the plate. Thanks to an error, the tying run was on first base, but Barnes would have to face right-hander Kaleb Fleck, the BayBears closer who ranked fourth in the league with 17 saves this season.
Barnes got ahead in the count, 2-0, before driving Fleck's next pitch over the left-field wall for a two-out, two-run home run to give the Suns the lead. Right-hander Matt Ramsey made sure it stood up, pitching a perfect ninth, and Jacksonville won, 5-4.
Barnes finished the night 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and a stolen base to go with his home run. He scored once and drove in three runs.
Barnes began the season with Class A Advanced Jupiter and was promoted to Jacksonville at the end of May. In 78 games with the Suns in the regular season, he hit .296/.406/.507 with 12 home runs and eight stolen bases.
Barnes' ninth-inning heroics helped pick up Jacksonville starter Jose Urena, the Marlins' No. 9 prospect. He threw six innings Thursday, giving up four runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out seven batters and threw 80 pitches.
The Suns have now won 11 straight games, the last six of which have come against the BayBears. Jacksonville swept Mobile in a five-game series over the weekend to win the second-half South Division championship and clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Jacksonville will look to extend its winning streak Friday, when the series continues with Game 2 at Mobile. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET and can be seen on MiLB.TV.