Biloxi, Miss. - The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, came up short in Game 1 of the Southern League Championship Series on Tuesday, dropping a 9-7 decision to the Biloxi Shuckers (1-0) at MGM Park.
The defeat marked the first time that Jackson (0-1) saw their starting pitcher fail to complete the third inning since May 25, a span of 92 games.
Jackson right-hander Jeff Bain made his first postseason appearance at Double-A with mixed results, struggling against a Shuckers lineup that had batted .262 in the playoffs entering this series. A first-inning error by catcher Daulton Varsho put men on first and third with no outs, leading to a sacrifice fly by C.J. Hinojosa that scored Biloxi's first run. The Generals answered in the top of the second on an RBI single by Ramon Hernandez, and the score held at 1-1 as Bain put the Shuckers away in order in the second inning. Jackson failed to score in the top of the third, and the Shuckers made life rough on Bain in the bottom half, earning two walks and four singles that led to a four-run inning for a 5-1 lead. Bain departed after two-and-two-thirds innings, conceding five runs (four earned) on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts over 57 pitches, with Cole Stapler getting the inning's final out.
Not be outdone so quickly, the Generals charged back in the top of the fourth inning, scoring four times to knock out Biloxi's Alec Bettinger. An error on Biloxi's Weston Wilson allowed Seth Beer to score, and L.T. Tolbert followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to cut the lead to 5-3. Ben DeLuzio then grounded into what appeared to be a double-play, but the relay throw to first base from Hinojosa went wide of the mark, allowing Camden Duzenack and Ryan Grotjohn to score and tie the game at 5-5.
Biloxi's persistence on offense won the day. Following the 5-5 tie, they scored in three consecutive at-bats against Jayson McKinley (0-1, 13.50 ERA) and Sam Lewis, who conceded four runs on seven hits between them. The last was a lead-off homer in the sixth by Luis Aviles Jr., his fourth hit and fourth run scored in a five-hit tour de force. Kevin McCanna threw one and one-third scoreless innings to finish the contest. In addition to Aviles, five other Shuckers recorded multi-hit games.
The Generals offense couldn't keep up down the stretch, scoring only twice in the final five innings. Beer and Hernandez each finished with three-hit nights, but no other General registered multiple hits, including a top-third of the order that went 1-for-15. Jackson's offense left a lot of runs on the board, finishing 3-for-16 with men in scoring position. An RBI double by Beer in the seventh inning was the team's only extra-base hit.
For the second year in a row, the Generals are playing for a Southern League title! The Generals have earned their way back into the Southern League Championship Series, and this year, they have the right to host Games 3, 4, and 5 of the SLCS at The Ballpark at Jackson! Game 3 is set for Friday, September 13, at 6:05 p.m. CT, with Games 4 and 5 to follow on Saturday, September 14, and Sunday, September 15 if necessary. Buy your tickets through the box office at The Ballpark at Jackson in person, by calling 731.988.5299, or online through JacksonGeneralsBaseball.com!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.