"We knew when we went down there to play them," he said, "that we might see them again."
And because of Zunino, they will. The Mariners' fourth-ranked prospect hit his third postseason home run on Sunday in Jackson's 8-2 victory over host Chattanooga.
The Generals, which won their league best-of-5 semifinal over the Lookouts, 3-1, advance to the Championship Series for the first time in seven years.
Batting cleanup and catching, the third overall draftee in 2012 tagged a 3-1 hanging slider from Lookouts lefty reliever Wes Roemer in the eighth inning.
"Facing a guy with a lot of breaking balls," Zunino said. "I went up there to sit on one, and I got in a hitter's count and decided to stick to my gameplan."
Zunino, who also singled in his four at-bats, was just one piece of the puzzle. Three teammates -- center fielder Francisco Martinez, left fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang and third-baseman Nate Tenbrink -- recorded three-hit games. Tenbrink fell a triple short of the cycle.
The Generals tallied 18 total hits Sunday and ended the four-game series with 45 overall.
"Everyone seemed to be locked in and having quality at-bats," Zunino said. "Everyone switched into a different gear when the playoffs began."
Generals starter Anthony Fernandez (1-0) gave up two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings. Zunino, his batterymate, said the the 22-year-old left-hander had command of all his pitches.
Lookouts starter Andres Santiago (0-1) was charged with two runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.
In other Southern League action:
Mobile 11, Montgomery 4
Shortstop Chris Owings and second baseman Evan Freeman both recorded three-hit games, while middle-of-the-order sluggers Jonathan Griffin and Yazy Arbelo clubbed home runs.
On the mound, starter Michael Bolsinger (1-0) outdueled Biscuits right-hander Merrill Kelly (0-1), who gave up six runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Bolsinger was charged with four runs on five hits over 5 2/3 frames. Gameday box score