Montgomery, Ala. - After three nerve-wracking affairs, the Generals clinched a spot in the Southern League Championship Series Saturday night with a convincing 8-2 win over the Montgomery Biscuits at Riverwalk Stadium. Jackson homered twice in the first inning before batting around in a five-run fifth inning to run away with the clinching game. With the win, the Generals are headed for the Southern League Championship for the first time since 2012.
Jackson did not take long to jump in front. With one out in the top of the first, Tim Lopes singled before Tyler O'Neill mashed a two-run opposite field homer to put the Generals up 2-0. It was the third homer in four games for O'Neill, who finished the series with seven hits in 15 at-bats.
Ryan Casteel quickly added to the team's lead two batters later, launching a solo shot to left field that made it 3-0. It was the second homer in as many games for Casteel, who had three in the regular season for Jackson.
Bryan Evans (1-0, 1.50) was sensational for the Generals after giving up a lone run in the first inning. Patrick Leonard singled to bring Montgomery within two, but that was it for the Biscuits against Jackson's starter. In six innings, Evans struck out eight and walked just one while keeping the Generals well in front.
The Generals sealed the deal with a big fifth inning. Benji Gonzalez singled before Tim Lopes doubled off of Montgomery starer Hunter Wood (0-1, 14.50) . With first base open, the Biscuits intentionally walked Tyler O'Neill to load the bases. After a force out at the plate, Wood walked Casteel with the bases loaded to bring in a run. With the Generals up 4-1, Montgomery went to the bullpen.
Yonny Chirinos didn't fare much better in relief. Leon Landry made it a four-run game with a single to right-field to bring O'Neill home. Tyler Marlette followed with a double off the fence in centerfield that plated a pair to make it 7-1, though Landry was thrown out at home. Adam Law capped off the inning with a single to centerfield, scoring Marlette to make it 8-1.
All told, the Generals scored five runs on six hits in the fifth inning while sending ten men to the plate. The six hits in an inning tied a regular season high for the team. The Generals scored eight times on 15 hits total in the contest.
Jackson held on to its sizable lead over the game's final innings. After six strong frames from Evans, Ryne Harper struck out three over two innings. Brandon Sisk finished it off for the Generals. Montgomery got a run in the ninth, but Sisk punched out Jake DePew to secure a spot in the Championship Series for the Generals.
With the win, the Generals head to the Southern League Championship Series for the first time since 2012. The team is in search of its second league title, and it's first since 2000. Games one and two of the final series will start at 6:05 pm CT at The Ballpark at Jackson Monday and Tuesday.
The Generals will take on the Mississippi Braves in the final series after Atlanta's Double-A squad knocked off Pensacola in four games. Starters for Monday's opener have not yet been announced, but you can catch all the action on the TJ Network (AM 1390, FM 94.1) in Jackson and online via the TuneIn Radio App starting with the Pregame Show at 5:50 pm CT!
Tickets for the championship series will go on sale Sunday morning, and the box office will be open at 9:00 am Monday at The Ballpark at Jackson! For tickets and information, call the team at(731) 988.5299, stop by The Ballpark or go online to jacksongeneralsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.