Chattanooga, Tenn. - The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, lowered the boom on the Chattanooga bullpen on Friday evening, pounding the Lookouts' relief corps in an 8-0 shutout victory at AT&T Field.
Jackson (67-48) earned their 13th shutout victory in the process and took a 2-1 series lead against Chattanooga (52-64) with the help of six runs scored across the eighth and ninth innings.
Generals right-hander Emilio Vargas (4-3, 4.08 ERA) continued a dominant late-summer surge by holding Chattanooga to just three hits in five innings of work. Vargas did not permit an extra-base hit in his outing, extending his streak of scoreless innings to 17 consecutive frames. He walked one and struck out five, giving way to the Jackson bullpen after throwing 92 pitches. Ryan Atkinson, Miguel Aguilar, Damien Magnifico, and West Tunnell did was strike out nine men over the next four innings, conceding a lone hit across the final four frames to the Chattanooga offense. Jackson is now 56-17 when its bullpen enters in a tied game or with the lead.
The Jackson attack posted a first-inning run against Lookouts left-hander Packy Naughton (6-8, 2.99 ERA), thanks to a two-out walk earned by Pavin Smith and a subsequent run-scoring double to left-center by Seth Beer. The Generals added a second run in the third inning, starting with a one-out single by Ryan Grotjohn, who returned from the Visalia Rawhide earlier on Friday afternoon. Renae Martinez followed with a soft single to center field, and Grotjohn caught the defense napping by hustling from first base to third base despite slowing down upon reaching second base. Grotjohn was rewarded when Smith drove a sacrifice fly to left field that allowed Grotjohn to score, making the lead 2-0.
The scoreboard held steady until the eighth inning, when Ty Boyles loaded the bases with one out and then hit Beer with a pitch to bring home L.T. Tolbert for a 3-0 lead. Drew Ellis followed with a sacrifice fly against Ryan Nutof that drove in Martinez for a 4-0 advantage before Chattanooga could wipe the slate clean. In the ninth, Chattanooga's Jesse Stallings struggled, conceding a pinch-hit RBI triple to Daulton Varsho, a two-out RBI single to Martinez, and a sundae-topping two-run homer by Smith that doubled the Jackson advantage at 8-0. The Generals improved to 53-5 when scoring four or more runs, as Martinez collected his first three-hit game at Double-A while scoring twice. Smith also scored twice and walked twice while driving in three runs, with Beer accounting for a pair of runs driven in. Mark Karaviotis also made noise with a pair of hits and a run scored.
UP AND COMING AT THE BALLPARK:
August 13-22: Generals vs. Montgomery Biscuits (AA, Tampa Bay Rays) and Tennessee Smokies (AA, Chicago Cubs)
?featuring two Dollar Night Thursdays (August 15 & 22), plus Turn Back the Clock Night (August 17)!
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. Next June, The Ballpark at Jackson will host the 2020 Southern League All-Star Game, and you can purchase 2020 season tickets 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.