Double-A Jackson did all of its scoring Friday night in one inning. It began with a leadoff home run by Jabari Blash and ended with a grand slam by, well, Jabari Blash.
Blash's two homers and five RBIs in the fourth inning were enough to push the Generals past the Huntsville Stars, 8-5, at Joe Davis Stadium.
"That was a great feeling," the Mariners outfield prospect said. "The first home run was on a changeup and the second one was just a fastball, but I stayed on them well enough to hit it out. I knew from contact that both of them were going out, so, yeah, it was one of those where off the bat it was like, 'Yeah, I got that.' It's definitely a good feeling to be able to get us the insurance we needed."
Blash, who's been thriving since coming up from Class A Advanced High Desert, said he'd never really experienced anything like the fourth inning.
"Everyone was happy, we just got the lead and extended it. They were just like, 'Wow, keep doing what you're doing,'" he said. "I've had a grand slam before, but it's been a long time and, you know, you always get in that situation and sometimes you try to hit it out and you never do. But today I was lucky just to put the ball hard in play and it got out."
The 24-year-old is winding down something of a breakout season, which has only amplified since his promotion earlier this month.
In the California League, the St. Thomas native hit .258/.358/.505 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs in 80 games, maintaining and even building on some of the improvements he showed last year with Class A Clinton, where he batted .245/.355/.433 in 113 games.
He's taken things up a notch in the Southern League, collecting nine homers and 21 RBIs in 26 games to go with a .330/.459/.670 slash line. The 2010 eighth-round Draft pick was named Player of the Week on Monday after reaching base 26 times in nine games.
"Does it surprise me? Honestly, no. I expect this out of myself," Blash said. "I worked hard and, you know, hard work pays. And I'm not saying it's easy, 'cause a lot of these pitchers have some great stuff, but in a way I kind of expect this out of myself."
After striking out 134 times in 400 at-bats last season, Blash said he feels like he's matured a bit as a hitter this year.
"I think as a hitter I've made tremendous progress, actually, in just being more consistent, staying with my approach," he added. "As of late, I've been getting a lot of success out of that. My biggest problem was always consistency and now I'm actually almost there to completely fixing that."
Jackson also got a 3-for-4 night from Jack Marder, who doubled and scored a run. Leon Landry, Chris Taylor and Denny Almonte provided the Generals' other RBIs.
James Gillheeney was the beneficiary of the fourth-inning outburst, improving to 7-7 after allowing four runs -- three earned -- on five hits over 6 1/3 frames.
Huntsville starter Andy Moye (6-15) was charged with five runs on five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings.