Chattanooga, Tenn. - In what has been a wacky series already, the Jackson Generals drew first blood against one of the best pitchers in the league, and they didn't look back on Monday night. Jackson (22-22, 59-55) clocked Chattanooga's Fernando Romero (11-7, 2.96 ERA) for six runs through the first three innings, holding off the Lookouts (32-12, 74-40) down the stretch for a 9-3 victory at AT&T Field.
First baseman Kevin Cron continued his league-leading home run pace, blasting his 21st dinger of the year in his fourth at-bat during a three-run sixth inning. Jackson got a quality start from left-hander Alex Young (8-6, 4.00 ERA), who tossed six innings while only giving up three runs as the Generals tied the series, 2-2.
The crew from West Tennessee got on the board early with runs in the first and second innings, but their biggest share of damage was done in the third. Romero began the night as the Southern League's leader with a 2.60 ERA, but he allowed a leadoff single in the third to Emilio Bonifacio and a double thereafter to Victor Reyes. With runners at second and third and Cron at the plate, Romero balked, allowing Bonifacio to come home for free to make the Generals' lead 3-0. Cron grounded out, but Kelly Dugan doubled off the right field wall to bring home Reyes for a 4-0 edge. Jamie Westbrook then singled to right to draw in Dugan for a 5-0 lead, marking the first time Romero had allowed 5 earned runs since May 18.
Romero remained in the game, getting a force-out at second base on Westbrook that allowed Vladimir Frias to reach first base with two outs. Marty Herum then foiled Romero with a two-out, two-strike double to center field that scored Frias to put Jackson up 6-0. Herum's extra-base hit was his sixth in his last 8 games.
Alex Young faced just one more than the minimum through his first three innings, but he had to weather some trouble in the fourth. After allowing a single to Levi Michael and getting a flyout from Jonathan Rodriguez, Young ceded a single to Edgar Corcino. An infield error let T.J. White reach base next, allowing Michael to score the Lookouts' first run on the play. Max Murphy followed with a two-run triple into the right field corner to make the deficit just 6-3, and Young allowed Alex Perez and Brian Navarreto to reload the bases on a hit batsman and a walk. In a nail-biting at-bat by Travis Harrison, Young faced down the Chattanooga left fielder and got a clutch ground-ball double play turned by Vladimir Frias, Daniel Lockhart and Cron to end the inning. The three-run inning was Chattanooga's only scoring frame in the game.
After Young finished the sixth inning, Cron added to the Jackson lead by creaming a pitch from Dereck Rodriguez way out over the flagpole beyond left center field. The two-run shot brought Cron's league-best RBI total to 78, continuing the first baseman's MVP-contending season. Frias collected his first RBI as a General with a single to center field three batters later, scoring Dugan for Jackson's final run.
Right-hander Keegan Long made his Double-A debut in relief of Young, pitching two scoreless innings before handing the ball to left-hander Kirby Bellow. Bellow's scoreless ninth inning featured a pair of strikeouts, as Jackson reclaimed a .500 record in the Second Half. Reyes, Herum, and Frias each recorded three-hit nights, with Frias, Dugan, Reyes, and Bonifacio each scoring twice.
Game five in Chattanooga, a true rubber match, will be on Tuesday night, with Joel Payamps (5-5, 5.40 ERA) getting the ball for Jackson against Lookouts right-hander Felix Jorge (9-2, 3.51 ERA). First pitch from AT&T Field is scheduled for 7:15 pm ET/6:15 pm CT, and fans can listen to all the action starting with the Pregame Show at 7:00 pm ET/6:00 pm CT on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM.
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.