Jackson, Tenn. - The Generals split a doubleheader with the Tennessee Smokies Thursday, winning game one 4-0 in seven innings before dropping the nightcap 7-3 in ten innings. Joel Payamps gave Jackson its first complete game in the opener, but the Generals used six pitchers and a position player on the mound in game two.
Jackson (20-20, 57-53) goes into Friday three games back of Montgomery in the Wild Card standings. Tennessee (20-20, 56-53) is a half-game back of the Generals. After Thursday's action, Jackson has won seven of 14 matchups with the Smokies with the teams slated to finish the season against each other in Sevierville.
Game 1: Generals 4, Tennessee 0
Joel Payamps was the star of the show in game one of the twin-bill, going the distance as the Generals won 4-0. It was the first complete game for any Jackson pitcher in the team's 109th game of the season. The Generals won in shutout fashion for an 11th time.
Payamps (5-5, 5.40) turned in one of his finest starts of the year in the win. Through the first six innings, only one batter reached against him. Carlos Penalver singled in the third inning and was sacrificed to second base, but that was it for Tennessee on offense. The righty struck out six and walked two while allowing just the one hit.
In the top of the seventh, the Smokies did threaten. With Jackson up 4-0, Payamps walked a pair to put the potential tying run in the on-deck circle. Yasiel Balaguert, who has done a ton of damage against Jackson this season, hit into a game-ending double play as game one wrapped up in 96 minutes.
Jackson's offense plated four in five innings against Tennessee's Zach Hedges (7-8, 3.77). In the first inning, Emilio Bonifacio reached second on an error to lead off. After a groundout got him to third, Kevin Cron smashed an RBI double down the line in left to put the Generals on the board. It was his 31st double of the season and his league-best 73rd RBI.
The Generals added a pair of big insurance runs in the fourth inning. Singles by Dugan and Westbrook put two aboard. With two outs, Marty Herum came through with a two-run double the other way. More two-out hitting helped Jackson plate a third run in the fifth inning. Bonifacio again reached on an error before stealing second to get into scoring position. With two away, Kelly Dugan ripped an RBI single through the shift on the right side to make it 4-0.
Game Two: Tennessee 7, Generals 3 (10 innings)
Jackson fell in a back-and-forth affair in the nightcap, losing 7-3 in 10 innings against Tennessee. The Generals led by a run going into the seventh, but could not hold on and cut their deficit in the Wild Card standings to two games. Both teams came back from late deficits, but it was the Smokies that finally prevailed.
In his first start since 2013, J.R. Bradley pitched three nearly perfect innings. The righty struck out three and did not allow a hit before Jackson turned the game over to the bullpen.
Tennessee got on the board in the top of the fifth on a Gabe Speier pitch, but the Generals responded in the bottom of the frame. Marty Herum tied the game with an RBI double before Victor Reyes put Jackson in front with a double of his own to make it 2-1.
The Generals remained up a run until the top of the seventh. Yuheil Nakaushiro worked a scoreless sixth, but gave up a game-tying home run to Trey Martin that forced extra innings. It was just the second home run allowed by Nakaushiro this season, and the only hit he allowed in two innings.
It looked like Tennessee would win it in the eighth inning, as David Bote took Drew Muren deep with two outs to make it 3-2. But Victor Reyes extended the game with a solo shot that led off the bottom of the eighth inning. It was just the third home run of the year for Reyes, but his second in the last week after hitting just one in the First Half.
The Generals got the winning run on base in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to walk off on Tennessee. The Smokies finally broke through against Kirby Bellow (0-1, 13.50) in the 10th inning. Two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, setting up consecutive two-run singles from Carlos Penalver and Erick Castillo to make it 7-3. Catcher Jose Queliz, Jackson's last available position player, pitched for the first time in his career to finish the inning.
James Norwood (1-0, 0.00) earned the win with a scoreless ninth inning on the mound. Ryan McNeil retired the side in order to finish off the game in the tenth inning. After a 96-minute game to start the evening, game two went three hours and 16 minutes.
The Generals hit the road for ten games starting on Friday with a series in Chattanooga against the first-place Lookouts. Righty Ryan Atkinson (1-0, 1.69) makes his second Double-A start for Jackson against lefty Stephen Gonsalves (7-3, 2.90). First pitch from AT&T Field is set for 6:15 pm CT/7:15 pm ET, and fans can follow all the action live starting at 6:00 pm CT/7:00 pm ET with the Pregame Show on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM.
Bidding is open now for Jackson's special Shark Week jerseys that the team wore Saturday! Game-worn and signed jerseys are being auctioned off, with proceeds going to JACOA! Bid online at generals.milbauctions.com.
The Generals return home for their penultimate series in Jackson this season August 16. The series versus the Biloxi Shuckers features a Thrifty Thursday and a Leaders Credit Union Food Truck Friday! Saturday, August 19 is Big Bang Theory Night presented by Hunt Brothers Pizza with Postgame Fireworks! The Generals will be giving away t-shirts, and one lucky fan will win a trip to Wizard World Comic Con in Nashville! Jackson's special Superhero Jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Ashley Furniture's A Hope to Dream Foundation!
The final Fireworks Show of the year is August 26! Jackson's annual SEC Night with Postgame Fireworks is sponsored by WBBJ and Jackson Sport & Fitness! The Generals will be giving away tickets to a number of SEC Football games throughout the night! Early arrivers will take home a trucker hat, and the Memphis Grizzlies Caravan will be at the game with former Kentucky standout Andrew Harrison!
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.