By Blake Long/Special to the Journal
FALKNER – With his team facing elimination, Dayday Jackson helped his team step one game closer to playing in Jackson.
Jackson, the starting pitcher for Greenville St. Joseph, outdueled Falkner ace Will Robertson, recording 13 strikeouts in a complete game shutout of the Eagles, 2-0 Saturday night, to tie the series at a game apiece.
The Class 1A North Championship series now shifts back to Greenville on Monday, where Game 3 will begin at 5 p.m.
“You could say he’s our ace,” Greenville St. Joe coach Chris Williams said of Jackson, “He has a great curveball and knows how to change his speeds well.”
Jackson (6-4) allowed only three hits – and only one of those hits left the infield, on a Robertson single to centerfield to lead off the fourth. The sophomore lefty did not walk or hit a batter to go along with his 13 Ks, and the Eagles (17-15) did not get a runner past second base the entire game.
“We’ve just didn’t hit the ball,” Falkner coach Chip Johnson said, “We didn’t put them in any threatening positions at all. Will pitched well enough to win.”
Robertson (11-3) recorded 16 strikeouts while walking only one. The Northeast signee allowed one earned run and four hits in a complete game loss.
The Irish (17-8) scored their runs in the first two innings. Jackson reached on an error by the third baseman with two outs in the first.
His courtesy runner, Landon Pieroni, scored after two wild pitches and a throwing error by the catcher for an early 1-0 lead.
The following inning, Terry Bailey’s line drive was a step out of the reach of leftfielder Logan Wilbanks for a triple. Bailey then scored the next batter on an infield single by Zach Houston for a 2-0 Irish lead.
The winner of game three Monday must play Nanih Waiya in Game 1 of the Class 1A Championship series at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.