Pearl, Miss. - Brad Keller learned from his first outing against the Mississippi Braves. After losing that start back in late May, Keller (6-6, 4.69 ERA) threw a gem on Sunday against the M-Braves, shutting out Mississippi over six innings in a 5-0 Generals win. Keller's quality start was his second of the Second Half and his third this season, as the Generals (45-42, 8-9) won their third straight game overall.
Jackson's offense busted out in the top of the fifth inning with a quartet of runs, begun by Keller's first time reaching base as a professional with a lead-off walk. Dawel Lugo swung the biggest stick, collecting two hits and driving in a pair of runs in the victory over Mississippi (38-48, 4-12).
Keller's five-pitch free pass initiated an inning that brought eight Generals hitters to the plate. Two batters later, infielder Domingo Leyba singled to push Keller to second base, and both runners moved up on a wild pitch delivered by Mississippi starter Tyler Pike (0-4, 5.16 ERA) to the next hitter, Kevin Cron. Cron was walked to load the bases and create a double-play opportunity, but a catcher's interference call against Mississippi's Jonathan Morales during Jamie Westbrook's at-bat brought Keller in to score the game's first run. With the bases still loaded, Kevin Medrano grounded out to second base, scoring Leyba for a 2-0 Jackson lead. Lugo saw three pitches from Pike, and he lit into the third one for a base hit up the middle, scoring Westbrook and Cron to break things wide open.
The Generals added a fifth run in the seventh inning. With Mississippi's Danny Reynolds pitching, Medrano drove a two-out single into center field, and Lugo followed with a walk. Victor Reyes dropped his barrel on a 2-2 pitch from Reynolds, plating Medrano with a knock into center field, Jackson's last tally.
Keller's first inning was his most difficult, despite getting two outs right off the bat. Travis Demeritte reached second base with a two-out double to right field on a hit that eluded the grasp of both second baseman Medrano and right fielder Reyes. Joey Meneses found a way on base with an infield single that Keller deflected. Keller then walked Keith Curcio on five pitches, filling up the bases with Connor Lien coming to bat. On the verge of allowing a run to the opponent in the first inning--something Keller did in his previous start against Mississippi--the 21-year-old right hander bore down, getting Lien to fly out to center field to end the frame.
Keller did not face more than four batters in any of his subsequent five innings of work. He finished with five punchouts, two walks, and four hits allowed, turning the ball over to Joey Krehbiel for the seventh and eighth innings. Krehbiel struck out four M-Braves in that span, and Yuhei Nakaushiro took the same approach to the ninth inning, striking out two to close out the game.
Jamie Westbrook extended his hitting streak to eight games with a first-inning single, while Michael Perez got a hit for the 12th straight time in a game he started. All nine Generals in the starting lineup reached base with a hit or a walk.
The Generals' series at Trustmark Park continues on Monday, as Alex Young (4-5, 4.97 ERA) gets set to take on Mississippi's Wes Parsons (0-1, 3.50 ERA). First pitch from Pearl, Mississippi is set for 7:00 pm CT, and fans can follow along by tuning in on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM starting with the Pregame Show at 6:45 pm CT.
After a quick four-game trip to Mississippi, the Generals return home Thursday to continue a fun-filled July! The opener is a Thrifty Thursday, featuring $2 deals on general admission tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, soda, beer, ice cream and fun zone access! For just $6, fans can get reserved seats! Game two is a Leaders Credit Union Food Truck Friday, featuring a bevy of local food trucks in the fun zone! The Generals will also play as the Hub City Hippos, as they do at every Friday home game! The special game-worn and signed jerseys will be auctioned off at year's end with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club of Jackson thanks to Tennessee 811!
The series is highlighted by Disney Night sponsored by Tennessee Donor Services Saturday! It's one of the biggest nights of the summer in Jackson, so get your tickets now! We'll have a special Disney-themed Fireworks Show after the game, one of four shows in July! One lucky fan will also win a Disney Vacation!
Make sure to get your tickets now to see the 20th season of professional baseball in Jackson, and the first for the team as an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks! Call the team at (731) 988.5299, stop by The Ballpark or go online to jacksongeneralsbaseball.com to secure your seats now!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.