Birmingham, Ala. - The runs remain hard to come by for the Jackson Generals. Held scoreless through eight innings by Michael Kopech, the Generals dropped a 4-0 decision to the Birmingham Barons on Thursday night, failing to plate any runs for the second straight night.Kopech (6-6, 3.51 ERA) got the win
Birmingham, Ala. - The runs remain hard to come by for the Jackson Generals. Held scoreless through eight innings by Michael Kopech, the Generals dropped a 4-0 decision to the Birmingham Barons on Thursday night, failing to plate any runs for the second straight night.
Kopech (6-6, 3.51 ERA) got the win for the first time in four starts this year against Jackson (12-15, 49-48), overshadowing a quality start from Generals right-hander Brad Keller (6-7, 4.96 ERA). Kopech struck out eight Generals without walking a batter, allowing only four hits in eight innings of work. Birmingham (12-15, 38-58) is now even with the Generals in the North Division's Second Half standings.
The Generals' chances to make hay against the Barons were few and far between, but perhaps their best one fell apart in the second inning. Kevin Cron led off with a single, and two batters later, Marty Herum reached first base on an error. Herum grounded a comebacker to Kopech on the mound, but Barons second baseman Danny Mendick failed to cover second base. Kopech was forced to threw the ball to Mendick well away from the base anyway, thereby allowing Cron to advance safely. By avoiding the potential double play, the Generals had men on first and second base with one out, trailing 2-0. However, a flyout from second baseman Angel Franco and a strikeout by catcher Michael Perez left Cron and Herum stranded.
Jackson's other two chances featured a two-out double by Victor Reyes in the third inning and a two-out triple by Evan Marzilli in the fifth. Both men were stranded in scoring position with an out from the subsequent batter. The Generals are hitless in their past 12 situations with runners in scoring position, a mark that stretches back to the start of the first game in the series.
Keller's initial difficulties on Wednesday proved to be momentary, but the consequences were lasting. After getting the first batter of the game to ground out, an infield error by shortstop Vladimir Frias allowed the second hitter to reach. Keller delivered a strike to designated hitter Nick Basto, but Basto drove the second pitch into the right field bleachers for a 2-0 Barons lead. Keller would go on to set down the next eight hitters in a row before allowing more damage.
In the fifth, Birmingham's Courtney Hawkins began with a triple off the right field wall that eluded the grasp of outfielder Victor Reyes. Two batters later, Keon Barnum drove a deep flyout to center field that allowed Hawkins to score, making the lead 3-0. A leadoff double by Mendick in the sixth inning scored two batters later after a pair of groundouts, accounting for the final tally. The three extra-base hits were the only knocks against Keller in a start that featured two walks and a trio of strikeouts as well. He used only 83 pitches, finishing the sixth inning for the sixth time this year.
Kevin Cron was the only General to collect multiple hits in the game. Jackson did not record any walks on offense, leaving five men on base. Outfielder Stewart Ijames did record his first outfield assist of the year in the defeat, gunning down Birmingham's Eddy Alvarez at home plate for the final out of the eighth inning.
The Generals' series in Birmingham continues on Friday. Alex Young (6-5, 4.63 ERA) will go to work for Jackson against Birmingham's Jordan Guerrero (6-8, 3.80 ERA). First pitch from Regions Field is set for 7:05 pm CT, and fans can catch all the action starting at 6:50 pm CT on Willie 94 FM & 1390 AM.
After the road swing, Jackson returns home for a ten-game homestand against Mobile and division-rival Tennessee July 25. Saturday, July 29is Shark Week Night presented by the Jackson Energy Authority! In addition to Postgame Fireworks, the Generals will wear special shark-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off with proceeds going to JACOA! With WBBJ, the team will also be giving away umbrellas to honor Gary Pickens for the first 500 families! One lucky fan will go home with a vacation!
Jackson Generals Skills Camp is July 27 and 28! Sign campers up now for a chance to work with the Generals along with much more! The homestand also includes a pair of Thrifty Thursdays and a Leaders Credit Union Food Truck Friday! The Generals will play as the Hub City Hippos July 28!
Make sure to get your tickets now to see the 20th season of professional baseball in Jackson, and the first for the team as an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks! Call the team at (731) 988.5299, stop by The Ballpark or go online to jacksongeneralsbaseball.com to secure your seats now!