Jackson, Tenn. - Even with a field-goal kicker on their side, the Jackson Generals probably wouldn't have been able to keep up. In front of a football-jersey-wearing SEC Night crowd of 4,563, the Generals (28-33, 65-66) succumbed to a three-homer, 10-2 tail-kicking by the Chattanooga Lookouts on Saturday.
Starter Joel Payamps (6-6, 4.78 ERA) held the league's best team largely in check through the first five innings, but the Lookouts (43-18, 85-46) broke things open with a four-run sixth inning. Andy Wilkins swatted a three-run shot in the midst of a five-hit barrage to begin the inning, chasing Payamps and the Generals' chances along with him.
Trailing 3-2, Payamps allowed a leadoff single to LaMonte Wade to begin the sixth. Jonathan Rodriguez followed with a double, putting two men on base for Wilkins. Payamps hadn't allowed more than three runs in any of his past four starts, but three quickly became six as Wilkins pulled the trigger on a three-run blast to right-center field. Payamps' last three outings with six earned runs allowed have each featured at least two home runs, and Wilkins' bop marked the second of the game for Chattanooga at that moment, cushioning their lead at 6-2.
Behind Wilkins, T.J. White and Max Murphy each singled, forcing Payamps' departure. Josh Taylor entered in his place, quickly retiring Chattanooga's Brian Navarreto on a pop-out. Ryan Walker then hit a ground ball to shortstop Vladimir Frias that looked like a double play opportunity, but the relay throw from second baseman Emilio Bonifacio sailed over the head of first baseman Travis Denker. White scored on the error, making the margin 7-2 Chattanooga. Walker was then thrown out on a steal attempt of second base by catcher Michael Perez to end the inning.
Chattanooga would pile on with a two-run homer by Edgar Corcino in the seventh inning and a Ryan Walker sacrifice fly that scored Max Murphy in the eighth. The Lookouts' second, third, fourth, and fifth hitters-Corcino, Wade, Rodriguez, and Wilkins-accounted for seven of the team's runs and eight of their nine RBI. Corcino, Wade, and Rodriguez had delivered Chattanooga's first flurry of runs, beginning the fourth inning with a walk, a triple, and a home run to take a 3-2 lead.
The Generals' offense struggled against Chattanooga's Zack Littell (4-0, 3.03 ERA). Two of the right-hander's four wins with the Lookouts have come against Jackson, and he was strong again on Saturday, throwing six innings while allowing just a pair of sacrifice flies. Emilio Bonifacio got in scoring position in both the first and fifth innings with extra base hits, and Kevin Cron and Travis Denker supplied timely sacrifice flies each time to bring Bonifacio home. That was all the scoring the Generals could do, as Jackson left ten runners stranded and seized on just one of their seven chances with men in scoring position.
Gabe Speier finished the game with a scoreless ninth inning for the home side. Bonifacio led the Generals with five total bases and two runs scored, and Michael Perez chipped in with a pair of hits as well. The RBI for Cron was his league-leading 86th.
The Generals continue their final homestand with a 2:05 pm start on Sunday, as right-hander Brad Keller (8-9, 5.23 ERA) squares off with Chattanooga righty Dereck Rodriguez (5-3, 4.22 ERA). Fans can listen to all the action starting with the Pregame Show at 1:50 pm CT on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM, as well as the Jackson Generals Baseball Network via TuneIn Radio!
Sunday's afternoon contest is the year's final matinee at home. Season ticket-holders will be invited onto the field after the game to take batting practice, celebrating their commitment to the Generals with a baseball-themed festivity.
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.