Jackson, Tenn. - Playing at home on July 4th for the first time in eight years, the Jackson Generals knocked the Birmingham Barons sideways in an 8-2 rain-shortened contest. A crowd of 4,270 looked on as the Generals (42-40, 5-7) climbed past the Barons (30-51, 4-8) in the North Division standings with a series-opening victory.
Multiple-hit games from Kevin Cron, Dawel Lugo, Evan Marzilli, and Galli Cribbs powered an 11-hit night for the Generals offense, which improved to 8-3 against Birmingham this season. Brad Keller (5-6, 5.08 ERA) picked up the win for the Generals, while Jared Miller (S, 2) got his second save in the rain-shortened contest.
Birmingham entered the scorebook first, using a pair of singles and a Mason Robbins sacrifice fly to take an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Eddy Alvarez led off with a single, and Jake Peter followed with one of his own. Nick Basto then flew out to deep right field, allowing Alvarez to tag up and move to third base. Robbins' fly-out to center field brought Alvarez in, but the Barons would not score again until the fifth inning.
Jackson returned fire in the second inning against Barons starter Michael Kopech (4-6, 4.02 ERA). After a strikeout, Dawel Lugo walked, and Stewart Ijames followed with a free pass as Kopech struggled with control. A wild pitch during Travis Denker's at-bat gave both runners the chance to advance one base, and Lugo would later score on a passed ball with Evan Marzilli at the plate. Marzilli quickly improved upon the freshly tied game, using a run-scoring single to give the Generals a 2-1 advantage.
The Generals gained more separation in the third inning. Kopech allowed a lead-off triple to Generals shortstop Galli Cribbs, and Victor Reyes followed with an RBI double, marking the third straight day on which Reyes had recorded an RBI. The 3-1 lead for Jackson became 4-1 when Cron chipped a double down the right field line to score Reyes from second base. Kopech would finish the inning and get the first out in the fourth, but he departed with two men on base, one of which later scored. Kopech took the loss for the second time in as many starts against Jackson.
Keller did his part against the Barons over five and two-thirds innings, scattering seven hits while striking out six and allowing only one run beyond the first inning. Keller's threw 60 of his 82 pitches for strikes, his highest percentage of the season. Miller entered with two outs and two on in the 6th, retiring Birmingham's Jeff Gelalich on a fly-out to center field.
The game was suspended in the bottom of the seventh inning with one out, as heavy rain forced the teams from the field. Cron's two-run homer in that half inning put the Generals up 8-2 before the inclement weather delay and umpire-ruled completion.
Cron drove in three runs on the night, and Lugo scored three times while going 2-for-2. Cribbs drove in his first run as a General with a fourth inning single to center field. Birmingham's Jake Peter went 3-for-3 with a run scored for the visiting side.
The series continues Wednesday, as Generals left-hander Alex Young (4-4, 4.88 ERA) gets the start against the Barons' Jordan Guerrero (4-7, 3.51 ERA). First pitch from The Ballpark at Jackson is at 6:05 pm CT, and fans can listen to all the action starting with the Pregame Show at 5:50 pm CT on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM.
Thursday, July 6 is a Thrifty Thursday with $2 deals on general admission tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, soda, beer, ice cream and fun zone access! Friday, July 7 is a Leaders Credit Union Food Truck Friday with local food trucks at The Ballpark! The Generals will also wear special uniforms and play as the Hub City Hippos, with jerseys that will be auctioned off at the end of the season benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Jackson thanks to Tennessee 811!
Friday, July 7 is also the day of the first Baseball Camp this summer! Registration is open now! Contact Kate Lentz at email@example.com for more information!
The series wraps up Saturday, July 8 with our Championship Celebration and more Postgame Fireworks! We'll look back at last year's Southern League Championship, and the first 1,000 fans will take home a replica championship ring! The night and Fireworks are sponsored by Chicken Salad Chick!
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.