Birmingham, Ala. - With three new starters in the Jackson Generals' infield, the defense held strong against Birmingham, but the offense struggled in a 3-0 loss on Wednesday. Right-hander Taylor Clarke (8-6, 2.71 ERA) took the defeat despite allowing only two earned runs in almost six innings of work.Infielders Marty Herum,
Birmingham, Ala. - With three new starters in the Jackson Generals' infield, the defense held strong against Birmingham, but the offense struggled in a 3-0 loss on Wednesday. Right-hander Taylor Clarke (8-6, 2.71 ERA) took the defeat despite allowing only two earned runs in almost six innings of work.
Infielders Marty Herum, Angel Franco, and Vladimir Frias each reached base safely in their debuts at Jackson, but the Generals left eight men on base while going hitless in seven situations with runners in scoring position. The loss drops Jackson (12-14, 49-47) to just a game ahead of Birmingham (11-15, 37-58) in the North Division's Second Half Standings.
Clarke finished the first four frames with just 50 pitches required, but found the weeds in the fifth inning. After striking out the leadoff hitter, Clarke allowed a single to Birmingham catcher Alfredo González before inducing a flyout from shortstop Eddy Alvarez. With two away, Clarke faced second baseman Danny Mendick for the third time on the evening, having previously induced a flyout and a groundball double play. Mendick lined Clarke's 2-1 pitch over the left field wall, giving the home side a 2-0 lead. Clarke would finish the inning and two-thirds of the next one, but manager J.R. House used Gabe Speier in relief with two outs in the sixth. Speier promptly struck out Keon Barnum.
The seventh inning was a hard one to swallow for Jackson. The Generals put the pressure on Birmingham by getting a one-out walk from shortstop Vladimir Frias, which chased right-hander Jake Johnasen (2-1) from the game. Johansen's replacement, Robinson Leyer, then walked the next batter, Victor Reyes, to put a pair of men on base. Jackson catcher Michael Perez stepped to the plate with an RBI opportunity at hand, but things did not go as planned. With Perez batting, Frias broke from second base with Leyer holding the ball in the stretch on the mound. The Barons' reliever quickly stepped off the rubber and threw over to third baseman Trey Michalczewski, who applied the tag to the incoming Frias for the inning's second out. Reyes moved up to second base on the throw, but Perez then struck out.
Birmingham followed with another run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Mason Robbins sac fly, but the margin was already enough.
Jackson played for the first time without infielders Dawel Lugo, Domingo Leyba, and Kevin Medrano, each of whom was diverted from action in Jackson due to involvements in trades, injuries or promotions. Herum, a midseason All-Star at High-A Visalia, recorded his first Double-A hit after getting the start at third base. Franco, who played in the Kansas City organization up through 2016, roped a single in the second inning to get in on the fun. Frias' walk was his first time reaching base for an affiliated minor league team since his 2013 campaign with High-A Salem in the Carolina League. Josh Taylor dealt a scoreless inning of relief, continuing his development as an effective bullpen presence. Westbrook collected a pair of hits, raising his batting average to .375 in July.
The Generals' series in Birmingham continues on Thursday. Brad Keller (6-6, 4.99 ERA) starts the second game for Jackson against Birmingham's Michael Kopech (5-6, 3.84 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 29 is 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!