Heading to the ninth inning in a tight game for the fourth time in the past week, the Jackson Generals found a way to tip the scales in their favor yet again.
Pinch-hitter Jason Morozowski helped score the go-ahead run with an infield grounder in the top of the ninth, and left-hander Gabe Speier (1-0, 0.00 ERA) retired the Tennessee Smokies (2-5) in order thereafter to secure a 4-3 Generals victory.
Speier's outstanding late-game effort -which spanned two innings on his 23rd birthday-featured as many baserunners (two) as strikeouts, and he maintained his spotless ERA through five innings of work this year. Speier's performance could not have happened at a more important moment for the Generals (6-1), as it followed a white-knuckled seventh inning that included three walks as part of a two-run Smokies rally to tie the game. Taylor Widener started and threw five innings with only one run allowed, striking out eight with three walks to drop his ERA down a dozen points after it had ballooned in a sub-par bad weather start last Friday.
Morozowski, who arrived at Double-A for the first time after an overnight flight from California, contributed by putting the ball in play in his first plate appearance. Galli Cribbs raced in to score the tie-breaking run when the Tennessee infield couldn't turn the inning-ending double play, crossing home for the second time. Rudy Flores homered for the second time in two games, taking the team lead with his fourth extra-base hit. Kevin Medrano and Juniel Querecuto tacked on multi-hit games for Jackson.
Top Performers - GENERALS
**RHP Taylor Widener - 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 8 K
**LHP Gabe Speier (W) - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
**INF Rudy Flores - 1-4, R, RBI, HR (2) - 2nd homer in as many days
Top Performers - TENNESSEE
**RHP Duncan Robinson - 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K; Hitting: 1-1, R
**INF Jason Vosler - 1-4, R, 2 RBI, BB
**OF Trey Martin - 0-2, R, 2 BB
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
**BOTTOM 5: Back to back one-out walks issued to opposing pitcher Duncan Robinson and infielder Zack Short open the door for Jason Vosler two batters later, who manages a single to left field off of Widener that scores Robinson to tie the game. Widener would strike out cleanup hitter Yasiel Balaguert immediately afterward to end the inning.
>>SCORE: JXN 1, TNS 1
**TOP 6: Rudy Flores takes Robinson deep for his second home run in as many days, pushing the Generals ahead without allowing the Smokies to remain tied for even one half inning. Flores has 17 total bases through his first 19 at-bats of the year.
>>SCORE: JXN 2, TNS 1
**BOTTOM 8: After allowing a one-out double to Jeffrey Baez and a walk to Trey Martin, Speier bears down, striking out Carlos Penalver and Zack Short while stranding the go-ahead run in scoring position. Tennessee left ten men on base in all.
6pm CT Friday (4/13) at Smokies Stadium (Sevierville, TN)
TBA (Generals) vs. RHP Thomas Hatch (Tennessee Smokies)
NEXT GENERALS HOMESTAND:
April 16-25 (vs. Birmingham Barons & Chattanooga Lookouts)
Dial 731-988-5299 for tickets to see Jackson Generals Baseball!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.