Jackson, Tenn. - The Jackson Generals, the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, outlasted the Birmingham Barons on Friday at The Ballpark at Jackson, winning 8-7 in walk-off fashion.
The Generals (52-40) won their seventh consecutive game, a season-high mark, while Birmingham (41-50) saw their Second Half lead in the North Division standings cut to just one game.
The night began with the drumbeat of two first-inning homers, as Jamie Westbrook and Drew Ellis both went yard to elevate Jackson with a 4-0 lead. Birmingham mustered two runs in the second inning, as three consecutive hits opened the inning to cut the deficit in half at 4-2. Birmingham added another run in the third on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Gavin Sheets, cutting the visitors' deficit to just one run. The Barons would ultimately total 13 hits on the night, 11 of which came against Generals starter Cole Stapler. The right-hander worked the first six innings while allowing four runs, but he kept Jackson in the game.
The Generals tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning, stretching the lead back to three with a two-run blast by Jeffrey Baez over the left-field fence. Jackson's offense added another in the fifth, as a hard-hit grounder off the bat of Drew Ellis skipped off the glove of Barons third baseman Damek Tomscha, allowing a run to score. After the departure of Birmingham starter Tanner Banks at the start of the sixth, the Generals couldn't muster a hit against Kodi Medeiros, who served three scoreless innings in relief.
With the Generals stymied, Birmingham inched closer with runs in the sixth and seventh innings, staying within two runs at 7-5 until the top of the ninth. Michael Kohn (1-0, 2.45 ERA) gave Birmingham a baserunner with a one-out hit batsman, and Gavin Sheets came up big with a two-run homer to tie the game with two outs in the inning. The homer was the first allowed by Kohn since September 2017, but the Jackson offense had the final say.
Facing Codi Heuer (1-1, 4.22 ERA) in the ninth inning, the first two Generals made outs before Daulton Varsho smacked a first-pitch double down the line in right field. During the at-bat by Westbrook that followed, Varsho scampered to third base on a wild pitch, closing within 90 feet of scoring the game-winning run. In a 2-0 count, Westbrook saw a pitch he liked and swung hard, topping a soft grounder to the left side of the mound. Heuer, third baseman Damek Tomscha, and catcher Alfredo Gonzalez all converged on the ball, leaving home plate uncovered as Varsho dashed down the line. The only play was at first base, and despite a strong throw, a hard-charging Westbrook beat the ball to first, earning Jackson's sixth last-at-bat win of the season with a walk-off swinging bunt.
The Generals won despite being out-hit 13-10, with Varsho, Westbrook, and Pavin Smith all collecting multi-hit games. Jackson also got an impressive defensive effort from Mark Karaviotis in left field, who registered an outfield assist and nearly had a second one on a bang-bang play at the plate. Jackson's four first-inning runs gave them 70 on the year, the highest total in Double-A.
NEXT GENERALS GAME:
6:05 pm CT Saturday (7/13) vs. Birmingham Barons
The Ballpark at Jackson - Jackson, Tenn.
RHP Matt Peacock (4-3, 2.67 ERA) vs. RHP Lincoln Henzman (2-3, 4.43 ERA)
BROADCAST: Jackson Generals Baseball Network
UP AND COMING AT THE BALLPARK:
July 11-17: Generals vs. Birmingham Barons (AA, Chicago White Sox)
…featuring Sarge's Carnival (July 12-13) and "A Christmas Story'…in July" (July 13)!
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 2018 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.