All the big home runs Tyler O'Neill delivered this season seemed to be in preparation for Wednesday's walk-off shot in Double-A Jackson's playoff opener.
Seattle's No. 2 prospect belted a three-run shot in the 10th inning to lead Double-A Jackson past Montgomery, 3-0, in Game 1 of the Southern League semifinals. His heroics followed a dazzling display by No. 10 Mariners prospect Andrew Moore, who was perfect into the seventh inning and only allowed one baserunner over nine frames before exiting the game.
O'Neill reached base four times, also singling and walking twice. Facing Biscuits reliever Jaye Chapman with two outs and runners on first and second, the 21-year-old outfielder hit a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall of The Ballpark at Jackson.
"I was just really fired up going to the plate," the 2013 third-round pick said. "Extra innings, postseason, little bit of a competitive attitude running through my veins. I just wanted to get up there and get Ian [Miller] in from second base and get the ballgame over with.
"I knew it off the bat. I saw a good seven sliders that at-bat, so I had a pretty good idea of how it was breaking. I put the barrel on the ball and good things happened."
Walking off during the postseason takes the excitement to a whole new level, O'Neill said.
"It was awesome," the Canadian-born slugger said. "I've done it once before this year. But in the playoffs, when every win is important, it raised the competitive level there and all the boys were feeling it. I was happy to do the job."
Moore lost his perfect-game bid in the seventh, Kean Wong collected a leadoff bunt single to open the frame. The 22-year-old right-hander gave up just one hit, while fanning eight.
"I always love playing behind Andrew," O'Neill said. "He's got a very good pace, he goes right after hitters, doesn't walk a lot of guys, he has quick innings. So everyone behind him is doing the best they can to help him out, because we love him pitching in front of us. Kudos to him, he had a great outing. He's done that a couple of times. He had a complete-game shutout against Montgomery earlier in the year, so we knew he was gonna come out strong."
Brandon Sisk struck out two in a perfect top of the 10th to earn the win for Jackson.
Chih-Wei Hu allowed five hits and walked three while striking out five over 7 2/3 innings, but did not figure into the decision for the Biscuits.
The Generals host the Biscuits in Game 2 of the best-of-5 series on Thursday night.
In other Southern League playoff action:
Blue Wahoos 6, Braves 5
In a game that went back and forth over the final three innings, Pensacola scored twice in the home half of the ninth to pull out the Game 1 win. Ray Chang singled home the tying run and Joe Hudson drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game. Johan Camargo fell a triple short of the cycle and plated two runs for Mississippi. The series resumes Thursday in Pensacola. Box score
Robert Emrich is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobertEmrich.