Díaz, Navarreto homer for Jumbo Shrimp
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (27-21) and Memphis Redbirds (19-31) split a de facto doubleheader on Wednesday, with the Jumbo Shrimp taking the completion of Tuesday’s suspended game 6-4 in 10 innings, and the Redbirds rallying to win Wednesday’s regularly scheduled contest 6-3 from AutoZone Park.
The suspended ballgame was picked up tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning. The Redbirds had the bases loaded with no one out, but Jumbo Shrimp reliever Preston Guilmet came in to strike out the side.
In the seventh inning, Zack Zehner walked to lead off the inning. Brian Miller followed with a single to left. Two batters later, Lewin Díaz came through with an RBI single to put Jacksonville in front, 2-1.
Memphis responded in the bottom of the seventh inning. Juan Yepez walked to begin the inning, and with two outs, Rayder Ascanio lifted a two-run homer to take the lead for the first time in the contest at 3-2.
The Jumbo Shrimp fought back in the eighth. Isan Díaz jumpstarted off the frame with a double down the left field line. With two outs, Zehner lined an RBI single to left to tie the score at 3-3.
The game still stood that way when it advanced to extras. In the top of the 10th, with Isan Díaz leading off the inning at second base, Corey Bird entered the contest with a pinch-hit single to put Jacksonville in front. After Connor Justus walked, Zehner continued the rally with an RBI single through the left side. Two batters later Bryson Brigman came off the bench to score Justus with a pinch-hit single to push the lead to 6-3.
Sean Guenther (win, 2-0) fired a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to send the game to extras. He struck out three. Mason Melotakis (save, 2) gave up an RBI single to Conner Capel in the bottom of the 10th to score the inherited runner, but prevented any further damage.
Jacksonville took the lead, 1-0 on Tuesday, prior to the suspension, on a Lewin Díaz solo home run in the first inning. Memphis evened the score in the fifth on an RBI single from Yepez to score Harrison Bader, who had walked to lead off the frame.
In the finale, Jacksonville got on the board in the third inning against Matthew Liberatore (win, 3-4). Tristan Pompey singled to right, and with two outs, Brigman ripped an RBI double to score him to put the Jumbo Shrimp ahead, 1-0.
One inning later, Brian Navarreto, who was activated off the injured list Wednesday, smashed a two-run home run to left field, scoring Deven Marrero,who had led off the inning with a single.
Braxton Garrett started really strong for Jacksonville. The lefty retired 12 of the first 13 men he faced, striking out five over that stretch. He finished with seven strikeouts against one walk and two runs on four hits in 6.0 innings.
Memphis struck in the fifth. Justin Williams led off the inning with a single and stole second. Two batters later, Kramer Robertson singled to right. Irving Lopez also singled to score Williams and make it 3-1. Liberatore then helped himself with an RBI groundout to cut the deficit to one for the Redbirds.
Liberatore settled in during the middle innings. He ultimately tossed eight innings, allowing three runs on five hits. The southpaw walked one and struck out six and retired 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, not giving up a hit after the fourth inning.
Memphis grabbed the lead with a four-run eighth. Jorge Guzman (loss, 0-1) followed Garrett, making his first outing of 2021 in a rehab appearance. After tossing a scoreless seventh, he allowed five straight to reach with one out in the eighth. Nolan Gorman came through with an RBI single, and Yepez followed with a two-run double, giving the Redbirds their first lead of the ballgame. Andrew Bellatti took finished the inning, allowing an inherited run to score on an error, which increased the Redbirds’ lead to 6-3.
Game three of the series is set for Thursday at 8:10 p.m. with coverage beginning at 7:55 p.m. on ESPN 690 as well as on the ESPN 690 Facebook page and MiLB.tv. ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp offer affordable family fun at 121 Financial Ballpark. Their inaugural season garnered the Southern League’s Don Mincher Organization of the Year, Promotional Trophy and Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year, won by general manager Harold Craw. The club added its second Promotional Trophy in three years following the 2019 season. The 2021 season marks the return of Triple-A baseball in Jacksonville. To experience the excitement with the terrific value of ticket and group options, call the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visit www.jaxshrimp.com.