Kodak, Tenn. - The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, made a frenzied charge at the Tennessee Smokies' bullpen on Thursday and came away grinning with a 16-8 victory at Smokies Stadium.
Jackson (7-6) is back above .500 for the first time since Opening Night, and they took the series from Tennessee (7-6) by winning their third game in a row for the first time this season.
Jazz Chisholm opened the scoring with a two-run home run on the first pitch he saw from Smokies right-hander Zach Hedges in the top of the first. Chisholm's early burst kept the Generals in front until the fifth inning, when Jackson added on with run-scoring doubles from Galli Cribbs and Jeffrey Baez to extend the lead to 4-1.
Sam Lewis got the start for the visitors, and he allowed only one run to the Smokies in the first four innings. Lewis conceded three consecutive doubles to begin the fifth inning, scoring a pair of Tennessee runs to allow the home team to close within a run of the Generals, trailing 4-3. Lewis departed after leaving men on the corners with one out, finishing with five hits and a walk allowed while punching out three batters. Lucas Luetge (1-0, 0.00 ERA) took Lewis' place, but Luetge wasn't able to strand either of the runners that were handed off to him. Tennessee used a passed ball, a fielder's choice, and a wild pitch to score the tying and go-ahead runs, making the score 5-4 Smokies by the end of the frame. The game, as it turned out, was far from over.
The Jackson offense returned fire in the sixth inning as four of the first five men to the plate got on base against Major League rehabber Xavier Cedeño (0-1, 108.00 ERA). Cedeño conceded an RBI double to Drew Ellis to tie the game at 5-5, and a fielder's choice on an infield grounder by Galli Cribbs helped the Generals shift back into the lead at 6-5. Cedeño's intended rescuer was right-hander Michael Rucker, but the Generals had other ideas, as Jamie Westbrook singled home Ellis and Baez grounded out to score Cribbs and put the Generals ahead by 3. Rucker then put Pavin Smith in a two-strike count with two men down and Westbrook aboard. The Jackson first baseman turned the tables on Rucker, launching a two-run homer to right-center to boost the Generals ahead by five at 10-5.
Rucker continued to get in his own way when his two-out fielding error in the seventh inning allowed Marcus Wilson to reach base. Rucker hit Ellis with a pitch two tosses later, and Cribbs delivered a single to right field that brought home Wilson for an 11-5 advantage. Two batters after that, Rucker fell behind in the count against Baez, his former teammate, and the Jackson right-fielder whacked a double to left field that cleared the bases for a 14-5 Generals lead.
Jackson got two more runs from a Wilson two-run clout in the eighth inning against Rucker, who allowed eight runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings of work. The banner night for the Generals' offense featured a three-hit, five-RBI feast for Baez, as well as multi-hit performances from Wilson, Ellis, and Cribbs, each of whom also scored multiple runs. Smith went 1-for-6 with 2 RBI, while Chisholm finished 1-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Every Generals position player who started claimed a hit in the season-high 16-run performance from the West Tennessee crew, an effort that included nine extra-base hits and an 8-for-18 mark with men in scoring position.
The Jackson bullpen gave three runs back to Tennessee in the eighth, but Generals reliever Kevin Ginkel completed his 19th consecutive outing without an earned run allowed (dating back to July 31, 2018, and including the postseason) in order to ensure the win. Seven of the outs picked up by the Jackson relief corps came via groundout, with none coming through the air.
NEXT GENERALS GAME:
6:00 pm CT Friday (4/19) vs. Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs)
Smokies Stadium - Kodak, Tenn.
RHP Matt Peacock (0-1, 2.89 ERA) vs. RHP Brad Markey (0-0, 27.00 ERA)
Broadcast Link: Tennessee Smokies Baseball Network
UP AND COMING AT THE BALLPARK:
April 25-29 vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA, Minnesota Twins)
…featuring Super Hero Night (April 27), with 1,000 super-hero-themed T-shirts given away!
The Jackson Generals, a West Tennessee franchise since 1998, are the Double-A minor league affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. The Generals play at The Ballpark at Jackson, Tennessee's 2017 & 2018 Pro Sports Field of the Year. Purchase your tickets to see the defending Southern League champions today
by calling 731.988.5299 or visiting JacksonGeneralsBaseball.com!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.