Jackson, TN - The Mississippi Braves were in the driver's seat for seven innings on Sunday evening at the Ballpark at Jackson, but the Jackson Generals came back with two runs in the eighth and a game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth to win 5-4 and take the five-game series.
With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth, third baseman Ramon Morla doubled to left-center to lead off the bottom half and was replaced by pinch-runner Nate Melendres. Catcher John Hicks laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Melendres to third, and shortstop Gabriel Noriega hit the first pitch of his at-bat to deep centerfield for a sacrifice fly, plating the winning run from third.
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Braves (4-6), who built up a 4-0 lead in the early innings but only managed two hits after the fourth.
Jackson (6-4) completed their comeback in the eighth. Trailing 4-2, the Generals (6-4) loaded the bases against reliever Ryne Harper with a walk to Noriega, a single by Jamal Austin, and another walk to Jabari Blash. James Hoyt came on to pitch and, after striking out Kevin Rivers for the second out, walked Dan Paolini to force in a run.
Then with Leon Landry at the plate, a wild pitch plated Austin from third to tie the game.
The late runs erased an excellent start from David Bromberg, who went 5.2 innings and allowed just an earned run on two hits in the no-decision. He struck out six and walked one for the Braves.
Mississippi built up a 4-0 lead through the first four innings. Kyle Kubitza and David Rohm hit back-to-back doubles in the second to put the Braves up 1-0. In the third, Barrett Kleinknecht clubbed a solo home run to left, his first of the year, to make it 2-0.
In the Mississippi fourth, Seth Loman singled and Kubitza doubled again to put men at second and third. Rohm grounded out to second to bring in Loman, and Generals starter Victor Sanchez balked to score Kubitza as the fourth run of the afternoon.
Sanchez went five innings in the start, allowing four earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Stephen Kohlscheen (1-0) picked up the win in relief, while Hoyt (0-2) blew his second save and took the loss.
Jabari Blash hit a two-run home run for the Generals in the bottom of the fourth, his second of the year, to cut the Braves lead to 4-2.
Now the M-Braves hit the highway back home for a Monday night series opener with the Huntsville Stars at Trustmark Park. Right-hander Aaron Northcraft will take the hill for his 2014 debut, just activated from the disabled list on Friday, while the Stars go with right-hander Brooks Hall (0-1, 5.63). First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM CT.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, listen live to Kyle Tait on the call beginning at 6:30 PM CT on 103.9 WYAB or online at MississippiBraves.com and TuneIn Radio.
Mississippi Braves (4-6) 4 R 8 H 1 E
Jackson Generals (6-4) 5 R 4 H 0 E
W - Kohlscheen (1-0)
L - Hoyt (0-2)
Time - 2:36
Attendance - 1,150