Jackson, Tenn. - Hitless in his first three at-bats and down to his final strike, Matt Jones put his cape on and played the hero for the Jackson Generals on Sunday afternoon.
The starting backstop bopped a single off the 24-foot wall in left field with two outs in the ninth inning against Jacksonville reliever Jose Quijada (0-1, 3.38 ERA), and it allowed Rudy Flores to score the game-winning run from first base in a 1-0 walk-off win at The Ballpark at Jackson. The victory gave the Generals (3-1) their first series win of 2018, flash-frying the Jumbo Shrimp (1-3) in their first weekend matinee of the year.
Great pitching carried the day on both sides. A five-inning start from Double-A debutante Justin Donatella ceded only two hits and a pair of walks to the visiting side, as the tall right-hander struck out a brace with an efficient 77-pitch effort. Gabe Speier, Mason McCullough, and Kirby Bellow (1-0, 0.00 ERA) followed, working four innings of relief while striking out five without allowing any hits or walks. Flores was the only Jacksonian to register multiple hits, and his two-out, two-strike bloop single to left field in the final half-inning set up the chessboard for Jones' game-winning opportunity. Jones caught all nine frames, handling the Generals' staff capably in cold conditions and throwing out a runner on an attempted steal of second base in the first inning.
Top Performers - GENERALS
**1B Rudy Flores: 2-3, BB, R, game-winning run
**C Matt Jones: 1-4, game-winning RBI; 1 runner caught stealing
**RHP Justin Donatella: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 77 pitches
Top Performers - JACKSONVILLE
**RHP Merandy Gonzalez: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 68 pitches
**RHP Jorgan Cavaneria: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
**CF Kyle Barrett: 1-4, 2B; 5 putouts in center field
BOTTOM 9: Rudy Flores reaches bases with two outs in the ninth after fighting off a two-strike offering from Jose Quijada with a bloop single down the line in left field. Matt Jones takes two strikes looking, then gets the barrel on a drive to left field that caroms off the wall. Austin Dean's throw to the Jumbo Shrimp's relay cut-off men isn't properly handled, and Flores, motoring all the way from first base, slides home with the game-winning run.
11:05 am CT Monday at The Ballpark at Jackson (vs. Jacksonville)
TBA (Generals) vs. RHP Max Duval (Jumbo Shrimp)
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.