Braves pitch back-to-back shutouts

The Pine Bluff Braves did something they hadn’t in 35 years — win both games of a doubleheader in shutout fashion.

Pine Bluff blanked the Little Rock Rangers 10-0 and 9-0 Sunday in their first home games of the season at Torii Hunter Baseball Complex. It also marked the first time since 1977 the Braves did not allow a run in a doubleheader.

The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the first game and didn’t score until a seven-run outburst in the fifth inning. Reece Cross allowed one hit and struck out five in four innings for Pine Bluff, before Jeremy Bran came on to allow a hit and strike out two.

The Braves had nine hits in the first game and eight in the second. Jeffrey Works fanned six and allowed three hits to record the win. Bill Smith worked a scoreless seventh inning.

The games marked the Braves’ 61st home opener and honored Burl Smith, who along with James Bradley, Claude Baker and James Seawood founded the team. Bradley owned Bradley Park, where the team played for 32 years, and Smith was the president and general manager of the team for 59 years.

Pine Bluff will play in the Rangers’ Memorial Day Weekend Baseball Tournament at J.A. Fair and Pulaski Academy schools in Little Rock.